US Border Patrol agents found dozens of horned lizards and snakes hidden in a man’s clothing as he crossed into the US from Mexico last month.
The scaly discovery occurred at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego around 03:00 local time on 25 February.
The man was driving a pickup truck when he was pulled over for inspection.
Officers discovered 43 horned lizards and nine snakes in plastic bags “concealed in the man’s jacket, pants pockets and groin area,” agents said.
The suspect, identified as a 30-year old American citizen, was arrested on the suspicion of illegal wildlife smuggling.
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials say some of the animals are endangered and have now been placed in “a secure and safe area” quarantined from other animals.
“Smugglers will try every possible way to try and get their product, or in this case live reptiles, across the border,” said Sidney Aki, CBP director of field operations in San Diego, California.
“In this occasion, the smuggler attempted to deceive CBP officers in order to bring these animals into the US, without taking care for the health and safety of the animals.”