State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture land vertebrate specialist Lisa Nakayama kept a hand on a young male iguana caught Friday in Waipahu. Shown in the background is a full-grown, adult male iguana caught a month ago. Iguanas may grow up to 6 feet in length.

18-inch iguana found
at Waipahu residence

By Rosemarie Bernardo

State agriculture officials are holding an 18-inch iguana captured in a back yard near Waipahu Town Center.

Officials said a resident at Hoaeae Street spotted a large lizard moving from one papaya tree to another about 10 a.m. Friday and called the state Department of Agriculture.

Land vertebrate animal specialist Lisa Nakayama captured the iguana with her hands that evening.

Nakayama believes the iguana is a male.

Because the iguana is young, officials suspect there may be others in the area, although none have been reported. Female iguanas can lay up to 30 eggs at a time.

This is the fifth iguana captured on Oahu since December.

Officials will keep the iguana at the Plant Quarantine Station until it is taken to the Honolulu Zoo and shipped out of state.

When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to 6 feet from their head to the tip of their tail. The tail can be used as a weapon to ward off enemies.

Officials said iguanas are native to central Mexico through South America. The reptiles are categorized as vegetarians but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs.

Officials said it is illegal to possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii. People possessing illegal animals may face up to $200,000 in fines and up to three years in prison.

People with illegal pets are urged to turn them in under the department's Amnesty Program.

Anyone with information on illegal animals is asked to call the Pest Hotline at 586-PEST (7378).

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