A Malaysian water monitor lizard was captured Friday afternoon at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Personnel from the Hawaii Air National Guard reported seeing a large black lizard running on its hind legs last Thursday. Initially, base pest control staff was dispatched, but they were not able to locate the lizard where it was spotted, which was around a maintenance shop near the airfield.
On Friday morning, inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, personnel from the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service joined the search but were not able to locate the lizard.
On Friday afternoon, base personnel cornered the lizard and called HDOA inspectors who were able to capture the animal. The lizard measures about 18 inches in length.
Base personnel report that there was a recent arrival of containerized equipment from Malaysia and it is suspected that the lizard may have been a hitchhiker.
Water monitor lizards are native to India, China, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the New Guinea Islands. They live in tropical areas and near bodies of water. They may grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh more than 100 lbs. Their diet in their native range is varied and may consist of crabs, mollusks, fish, snakes, turtles, birds, frogs, lizards, rodents, eggs, monkeys, small deer, and carrion. In Hawaii, the lizard poses a threat to native and ground-nesting birds.
Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state's toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378). 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, municipal zoo or Humane Society -- no questions asked and no fines assessed.