Customs authorities in east China have intercepted a reptile species, which carries highly contagious bacteria that could severely damage forests and agriculture in China.
The five-lined skinks, or plestiodon fasciatus, a species of lizard, were discovered in ash wood containers imported from the United States to Jiaxing, in Zhejiang Province, according to the provincial Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.
It is the first time the species has been intercepted in China.
Five-lined skinks mainly reside in North America. The lizards live on insects, and can survive in the wild for up to six years.
The intercepted lizards have been confirmed as carrying a variety of bacteria. Anyone with close contact with the reptiles may develop skin diseases. Authorities said that the species could severely undermine the local environment if they had escaped.