Hawaii Man Charged With Illegal Possession of Poison Dart Frogs

March 28, 2014

Police in Honolulu, Hawaii have charged a 51-year-old man on misdemeanor smuggling charges for posessing and transporting poison dart frogs, according to KITV News 4. The station reported that residents of Pinao street in Manoa Valley on the island of O'ahu didn't know what was in the house of the man arrested, but heard the constant chirping of what turned out to be crickets, which the man was allegedly feeding to a variety of poison dart frogs that he apparently was buying and selling over the Internet.

All live animals that are imported into the Hawaiian islands require a permit from the Department of Agriculture, and there are many restrictions, especially when it comes to reptiles and amphibians. There are several colonies of  green and black poison dart frog (Dendrobates auratus) that have become established in Manoa Valley as well as on the island of Maui. Dendrobates auratus is native to Central America and was introduced to Hawaii to eat non-native mosquitos when the state was a territory. More than 200 specimens were brought to the islands by entomologist David T. Fullway in 1932.


Hawaii poison frog

Screen grab courtesy Hawaii Department of Agriculture/KITV News 4

 A 50-year-old man was arrested on misdemeanor smuggling charges in Manoa Valley, Hawaii.

The Hawaii State Department of Agriculture is vigilant in keeping invasive reptiles out of Hawaii. In recent years it has captured or confiscated a variety of reptiles, including caimans, leopard geckos, black rat snakes, Burmese pythons, a veiled chameleon, and a gravid monitor lizard that almost made it to freedom in Manoa Valley. While many of the established animals were intentionally introduced when Hawaii was a territory of the United States, today the state is doing all it can to keep other reptiles out of the islands.

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