Inspectors with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture say that they have taken custody of a bearded dragon lizard found by homeowners in Waianae. The lizard was found only blocks away from the site of another bearded dragon capture which took place just over a year ago.
Bearded dragons are popular pets in much of the US but they are illegal in Hawaii. People who have smuggled them into the state, or who have purchased one not realizing that the animals are illegal, can surrender then to the Department of Agriculture under the agency’s amnesty program without of fear of prosecution. Being caught with an illegal pet, on the other hand, can result in a 3-year jail term and/or a $200,000 fine.
Bearded dragons are of concern, in part, because they can reach lengths of up to 2 feet and will consume a variety of native flowers, fruits and vegetables. Large bearded dragons will also prey on small rodents and other animals.
Officials say they have no idea where this animal came from or if it is related to other bearded dragons seen in the past. Anyone with any information about this lizard, or any other illegal animal, is encouraged to call the agency’s hotline at 643-7378.