Waianae family captures illegal bearded dragon

Max Roske, 7, poses with the family's unexpected visitor. (Photo provided by the Roske family.)

A Waianae family captured an illegal bearded dragon lizard at their home Monday afternoon.

“Our dog was barking, so my husband went to see what the dog was barking at and he thought it was a bird, so he went outside and he saw this creature,” said Laura Roske.

The discovery was an exciting one for Roske’s 7-year-old son, Max, a budding young zoologist.

“We ran and got an aquarium and we caught him, and we came in to find out what it was. We looked it up on the internet and that’s when we found it was a bearded dragon,” Roske said.

Max Roske, 7, poses with the family’s unexpected visitor. (Photo provided by the Roske family.)

The lizard was found in their yard on Hakalina Road, a few blocks from where another bearded dragon was captured in April 2016.

It is not known where this illegal lizard came from.

The family notified inspectors at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) who came and picked up the animal.

The lizard measured about 16 inches from snout to tail and is currently being safeguarded at HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch.

Bearded dragons are native to central Australia and are common in the pet trade on the mainland. They may grow up to two feet in length and their diet consists of insects, flowers, fruit and vegetable matter. Larger adults may also consume small rodents and invertebrates.

Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in jail.

Individuals with illegal pets are encouraged to voluntarily turn them in under the department’s Amnesty Program, which offers immunity from prosecution. Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department’s PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).

Photo: Department of Agriculture

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