Maui News

Ball Python Captured in ʻAiea and Iguana Captured in Waimanalo

February 20, 2021, 8:14 AM HST
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Ball python snake. PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture

Snake found in ʻAiea on Monday

A live snake was captured in a residential neighborhood in ʻAiea, Oʻahu on Monday morning. 

The Honolulu Police Department was contacted  by a neighbor who spotted the snake on another property at around 10 a.m. Responding officers were able to cover the 3-foot-long snake with a trash can and contacted  agricultural inspectors from the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture who took custody of the snake.

The snake has been identified as a non-venomous ball python and is being safeguarded at HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch.

Ball pythons are common in the pet trade on the mainland. They are native to Western and West-Central Africa and are constrictors that subdue prey by coiling around it, causing death by suffocation. Their diet usually consists of small mammals and birds and may grow up to 6 feet long.

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Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaiʻi and pose a serious threat to the environment.  Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to endangered native birds. Large snakes can also be a danger to the public and small pets.

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Iguana Found in Waimanalo on Tuesday

A Waimanalo woman who lives on Kumuhau Street contacted the HPD to report an iguana in her backyard on Tuesday afternoon.

Responding officers were able to contain the animal and called HDOA agricultural inspectors who safely secured it.

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The iguana measured approximately 3-and-a-half feet from nose to tip of tail and is also being safeguarded at Plant Quarantine Branch. Although they are known to be established in some areas on Oʻahu, it is illegal to import, possess or transport iguanas in Hawaiʻi.

When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to 6 feet in length. Its tail is quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Iguanas are native to central Mexico through South America and are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs. 

Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.  Individuals who see or know of illegal animals in Hawaiʻi are encouraged to contact the State’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378) or turn them in under the State’s Amnesty Program.

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