One man aged 19 and another aged 27 have been charged after being found with 32 rare reptiles in the back of their car in Mount Isa, Queensland.
The scaly friends are said to be worth a mint, with a street value of over $160K.
Queensland Police pulled the men over on Thursday, suspecting that they were up to no good.
Detective Acting Sergeant Jarrod Horne said:
“The police conducted an inquiry with these two males on the side of the road and something didn’t sit right with them.“Upon making further inquiries they realised there was something further happening here and as a result the vehicle was searched and those animals were located.”
All up, police found 32 animals protected under the Nature Conservation Act, including a black-headed python, blue-tongue lizard, and a bunch of rare frogs and lizards, snakes, geckos and skinks. Police are yet to verify some of the animals.
Two rare frogs passed away due to being held in incredibly poor conditions: “They didn’t make it. They perished. They just couldn’t survive the conditions they were being kept in,” said Horne.
He said the reptiles were likely frognapped in remote areas of Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The protected wildlife have since been handed over to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, and released back into the bush.
The men are set to appear at Mount Isa Magistrates Court on August 7, facing nine counts of restriction on keeping or using a taken protected animal. The max penalty for the offence is two years in jail.
Police encourage anyone with any extra knowledge on this case, or other incidents of theft of native fauna, to hit ’em up at Crime Stoppers.
Photos: Queensland Police.