Live Snake Found in Waipahu

Posted on Feb 1, 2011 in 2011 News Releases, News-Releases

NR11-03 February 1, 2011


HONOLULU – A live snake was captured in Waipahu on Sunday (Jan. 30) by inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, with the help of several citizens and the Honolulu Police Department.  The snake has been identified by herpetology staff at the Honolulu Zoo as a male non-venomous black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta), which measured four-feet, four-inches long.

Several individuals spotted the snake slittering into a hole in a concrete barrier across from the Honolulu City & County Refuse Convenience Center on Waipahu Depot Road at about noon on Sunday. Police were called to the scene and called the Pest Hotline.  Two agriculture inspectors were sent to the site as police officers and witnesses kept an eye on the area.  Inspectors used a car jack to lift one of the barriers and were able to coax the snake out of the barrier. One of the witnesses helped hold a net over a hole in the concrete barrier as inspectors prodded the snake and it eventually came out of the hole and into the net.

“We appreciate the help from the citizens and police in this capture,” said Russell S. Kokubun, Interim Chairperson for the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “It is rare that a sighting results in an actual capture of a snake in the wild.

“Snakes are at the top of the list of invasive species threatening our islands and we need everyone’s help to protect Hawaii,” added Kokubun.

Black rat snakes are native to North America and may grow to about seven feet in length. As the name implies, it is black in color except for a white-colored chin. They are in the constrictor family and are excellent swimmers.

Snakes have no natural predators in Hawai`i and pose a serious threat to Hawaii’s 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.

Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the State’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, Honolulu Zoo or any Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed.  Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).