News Release: January 29, 2001

Posted on Jan 29, 2002 in 2002 News Releases, News-Releases

NR02-02 January 29, 2001

Iguana Captured on H-3

Honolulu – A two-foot-long iguana was captured on the H-3 freeway yesterday afternoon near the Koolau Golf Club.  A motorist stopped on the shoulder of the freeway after spotting the iguana and tried unsuccessfully to capture the animal, which ran from the freeway shoulder to the median and back.  The motorist, while keeping an eye on the lizard, used his cellular phone to call the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which dispatched a nearby conservation crew which caught it and held it for animal specialist from the Department of Agriculture to pick it up.

The iguana measures two feet from head to vent, with a tail of an additional two feet. The lizard is being kept at the Plant Quarantine Station.

If media would like to take a photo of the iguana, please call Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer, at 973-9560.  Depending on interest, the lizard could be made available from 11:00 a.m. to noon at the Plant Quarantine Branch, 701 llalo Street.

When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to six feet in length from head to toe.  Its tail can be quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Iguanas are native to central Mexico through South America and are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs.

Although they are believed to be established in some areas on Oahu, it is illegal to possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii.  Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in jail.  Individuals with illegal pets are encouraged to turn them in under the department’s Amnesty Program.  Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department’s PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).