An illegal African clawed frog was found at Kaiser High School last week and turned in to agricultural officials yesterday. If released into the wild, the frog likely would have driven native species from their natural habitat, officials said.

Voracious African frog
turned in to state agents

The illegal amphibian was left in a
jar on the steps of Kaiser High

By Rosemarie Bernardo

An African clawed frog was turned in to state agriculture officials yesterday after it was found on the steps of the administration building at Kaiser High School in Hawaii Kai last week.

Lisa Nakayama, land vertebrate animal specialist for the state Department of Agriculture, said the five-inch carnivorous amphibian was found in a plastic jar by school officials Friday morning. A note was left on the jar stating the frog "was not from Hawaii and the owner did not want to release the frog into the stream."

"Because of their voracious appetite ... they will really eat everything that they can get into their mouth," Nakayama said, adding it will eat crayfish, insects and other frogs.

Nakayama stressed the African clawed frog should never be released in the wild in Hawaii as it would push out other native species from their natural habitat.

The African clawed frog or Xenopus laevis is native to the sub-Sahara region of Africa. Its name derives from its hind legs, used to tear up food. The African clawed frog can grow up to five inches and has a life expectancy of up to 20 years in the wild, Nakayama said.

Those who possess illegal animals may face a fine of up to $200,000 and three years in jail. Anyone with information of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department's PEST HOTLINE at 586-7378.

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