News Release: August 19, 2002

Posted on Aug 19, 2002 in 2002 News Releases, News-Releases

NR02-14 August 19, 2002

Two Snakes Turned in Within Past Week

Honolulu – The Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch has custody of two snakes that were turned in in separate incidents during the past week.

A four-foot-long ball python (Python regius) was turned in on Wednesday, August 12, to the department’s airport office under the state’s Amnesty Program.

Ball pythons are common in the pet trade on the mainland and are native to Western and West-Central Africa. They are called ball pythons because, when frightened, they coil around their head into a tight ball. They are non-venomous and related to boas, which are also constrictors that subdue its prey by coiling around and suffocating it. Its diet usually consists of small mammals and birds. Ball pythons may grow up to six feet long.

The second incident occurred on Saturday, August 17, when a passerby caught a two-foot-long black-and-white snake in front of Masa’s Market in Kahuku and called police at about 10:30 p.m. The snake has been identified as a non-venomous California King Snake (Lampropeltis getulus), which is found all over the mainland U.S. and live in diverse habitat from rocky woods, deserts, swamps and prairies. Their diet consists of mice, lizards, birds and other snakes and they can grow up to almost seven feet in length.

A photo opportunity of the snakes will be held this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at the NEW Plant Quarantine Branch, located at 1849 Auiki Street (makai corner of Mokauea and Auiki Streets – it’s the second green building).

Persons possessing illegal animals, such as snakes, are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in jail. Individuals with illegal pets are encouraged to turn them in under the department’s Amnesty Program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department’s PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).