Man arrested at LAX with a chest full of lizards

Customs officials at Los Angeles airport caught a 40 year old passenger trying to sneak past them with undeclared lizards.

Most smugglers hide their loot in their luggage, but this guy had strapped eleven skinks, two geckos and two monitor lizards to his chest. They had been smuggled from Australia, and he obviously did not have an import permit for them.

Surprisingly, this is the second time in a month that a passenger tried to pull this stunt. Back in October, we wrote about a Norwegian passenger who strapped pythons and geckos to himself.

The man has been released on a $10,000 bond, and is expected to be face the court next month. There is apparently a big market for these animals, and since many of them are strictly regulated, people are willing to pay top Dollar to add them to their collection. The lizards caught in LA were worth just under $600 each.


Customs finds snakes and geckos strapped to passenger

The fine folks at Travelocity did a poll a couple of months ago to find out the most annoying type of passenger to be seated next to on an airplane. People with poor hygiene and those who cough or sneeze came out on top, but there’s one category they missed–the guy with reptiles strapped to his body.

Customs officials in Norway have arrested a man who had 14 royal pythons and 10 albino leopard geckos hidden under his clothing. He had rolled up the pythons in socks and put the geckos inside boxes, and then taped them to his chest and legs. The animals had a total value of about $10,000.

While that’s pretty high on the ick scale, the scariest thing is that officials didn’t become suspicious until they did a routine check of his luggage and found a tarantula, at which point they searched him. This amazing video shows him all geared up and ready to fly.

This story begs the question–how often do people get away with this? How often have you sat next to someone covered in creepy crawlies? And how would you know?

Enjoy your flight!


Crocodile makes a drinking buddy

Wildlife one comes across in ones travels is one way to know you’ve arrived somewhere new. In Singapore, it was the geckos that climbed on our walls to take refuge behind the artwork.

In The Gambia, it was the pouch rats that jumped over the corrugate fence in my back yard or the enormous snake that I can still see in the circle of my flashlight as I was walking to my latrine one night–or that monkey that makes for a terrific tale. Later for that one.

If you’re driving across West Virginia, you might see a black bear dash across the road like I did last summer when I was heading to Washington, D.C.

If you had been in Noonamah Tavern in Noonamah, Australia last Sunday, you’d have been drinking a beer with a crocodile acquaintance. Noonamah is near Litchfield National Park not far from Darwin.

The crocodile might have been underage though since it was only two feet long. According to the AP article on, a grown-up can be 16 feet, much harder to get into a bar.

Three guys who saw the crocodile outside the tavern thought it would be neat to bring it inside and have a few. The crocodile didn’t drink, though. They taped its mouth shut. Not a particularly hospitable way to treat a guest, but it was a crocodile with sharp teeth after all.

Happily, the story ends well. There is not a drinking and driving accident to report or anything like that. The salt water crocodile, a protected species, is now at a crocodile farm where it may have come from in the first place.

I wonder if it has come up with any jokes yet? “There were these three guys in a bar. . .”