Nearly 3-foot-long reptile found in urban Honolulu

Published On: Jun 13 2013 10:25:43 PM HST   Updated On: Jun 14 2013 06:40:20 AM HST

A rare reptile found in urban Honolulu. An almost 3-foot-long Iguana was captured Thursday night.

The iguana somehow ended up at the Dillingham Business Center.  A security guard on patrol said he was caught off guard when he saw what he thought was an unusual creature. It was hanging out by the stairwell before rushed it into a corner.

"I was like, 'What is this this?" This is not a local animal. This isn't supposed to be around, I knew it had to be illegal," said Gevin Vereen security guard of the center.

They are illegal, considered an invasive species that has somehow ended up in Hawaii. The Dept. of Agriculture says reptile enthusiasts likely smuggled in the iguanas. The population is established now on several of the islands. For about ten years they've started to turn up mostly on the Windward side killing native vegetation.  

"They are plant eaters so they eat native plants. They eat fruits and vegetables," said Keevin Minami with the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture.

The iguana found is estimated to be just under 3-feet-long but they are known to grow a full foot longer.

"It's kind of odd coming all the way down from the mountains up there. It wasn't really mean, it didn't react like the wild ones would," said Minami.

They believe the one caught could have been someone's pet. It will be caged up for now and kept in quarantine, and eventually shipped to the mainland. The fine of having an iguana here is $5,000. If you're caught with more than three it's up to a $200,000 fine. The Dept. of Agriculture asks you to report iguanas on the island by calling 643-PEST.

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