More than zebra and giraffe bones: the wild things global travelers have packed on flights to the U.S.
This holiday season, plenty of people will go on vacation and bring home a souvenir. But the thing is, some souvenirs can be a little more problematic than others.
"You name it, I’ve seen it," said Christopher Brewer of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). "There are crazy, crazy things that people try to bring into the U.S."
That includes zebra and giraffe bones that were seized at Dulles International Airport late last month. Brewer said a woman found them while on vacation in Kenya.
"That one was a first for me," he added. "I’ve seen similar things. Nothing surprises me anymore with this job."
And with good reason. After CBP tweeted about the bones, FOX 5 asked what else they’ve found at Dulles, and it turns out, the answer is a lot.
There was the charred bat meat, found in the baggage of a man who arrived from Ghana. Brewer also sent over a picture of stew containing iguana eggs and beef.
The list kept growing from there.
"About two years ago, one of our officers notified us that they had a passenger that had a baboon skull," recalled Brewer. "Broke a person’s heart a couple years back. we took an entire prosciutto ham. They spent like $900 on the thing … we’ve had whole sides of cows literally shoved into big canvas bags … the smells are interesting sometimes of the stuff we encounter … I’ve had passengers stand in front of me and just pick the maggot off and pop it in their mouth like it’s nothing."
But no matter what you bring back this holiday season, Brewer said it’s especially important to remember one piece of advice.
"When you do come back to the U.S., just declare it to us. Let us know about it and let us make the decision because even if it’s prohibited, you won’t get in trouble, we’ll just take it. That’s the worst outcome is we just take it. It’s when you don’t declare it to us that issues start."
Here are some additional tips and guidance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.