HONOLULU (KHON2) - A huge iguana was caught on camera wandering around Waimanalo on Lei Day. The woman who recorded the video says she's never seen one that big.
These reptiles are illegal in Hawaii but they're hard to catch.
Jessica Aquino was driving when she crossed paths with the iguana. It's not rare to see iguanas especially in Waimanlo with its rainy weather, but she was still surprised to see one and a big one at that.
"It was chilling and it started to walk across into this area," said Aquino.
Aquino has heard about iguanas roaming around Waimanalo, but coming face to face to one was a different story.
We asked, was it the size that caught you off guard?
"Yes, and how fat looking it was. It looked like a mini alligator," Aquino replied.
Aquino says it was at least six feet long, which is a typical size for a fully grown iguana. These wild lizards tend to shy away from people, but this one stuck around long enough for Aquino to start recording.
"It was looking back at me like it wanted to be on video," she said with a laugh.
That video has now been seen by more than 50,000 people on social media.
"I posted it and a lot of people were reposting and reposting, and I guess it went viral. Everybody was tripping out," Aquino said.
Iguanas are invasive to Hawaii so we called the Department of Agriculture and asked how many iguanas have been caught over the years and if it's a growing problem.
The last iguana the state picked up was back in 2017, also six feet long and also in Waimanalo. In the past decade, there have been at least three iguanas found on Oahu.
A spokeswoman tells us like wallabies, it's difficult to determine how many there are.
Officials say they also tried using traps but it's hard to lure iguanas into the traps because it's so easy for them to find food here.
Iguanas are typically vegetarians but they're known to feed on bird eggs, which is why they're not welcomed here in Hawaii. If you're caught keeping one, you could be hit with up to a $200,000 fine or three years in jail.
If you find any illegal animals, call the Department of Agriculture at 643-PEST (7378) and not the Hawaiian Humane Society.