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For Immediate Release: July 5, 2005                          


HONOLULU - A two-foot long illegal lizard was spotted and captured by residents of a Manoa home last Thursday evening (June 30).  The lizard has been identified as a Solomon Island Prehensile-tailed Skink (Corucia zebrata), also known as a monkey-tailed skink. 

The green-colored lizard was spotted on a wall in the driveway of the Keahi Place home at about 9:30 p.m. by one of the family's sons, who initially thought it was an iguana.  The family was able to capture the lizard with scoop nets and called police and inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. 

As its name implies, the Solomon Island Skink is native to the rainforests of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.  They are most notable for its large prehensile tail, which can be used for grasping branches while climbing.  They are nocturnal and their diet consists of leaves, vegetation and fruits.  They have sharp claws used for climbing trees and powerful jaws with small sharp teeth.  It is not known how this particular lizard made its way to Hawaii.  It is illegal in Hawaii; however, this type of lizard is known in the pet trade on the mainland and elsewhere.

Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the State's amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, Honolulu Zoo or any Humane Society - no questions asked and no fines assessed.  Anyone with information on illegal animals should call inspectors at the Plant Quarantine Branch at  832-0566 or the PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST (7378).


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
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