News Release: June 3, 2002

Posted on Jun 3, 2002 in 2002 News Releases, News-Releases

NR02-10 June 3, 2002

Ball Python Found in Amnesty Bin At Honolulu Airport

Honolulu – A live ball python snake was found last night in an amnesty bin at the Honolulu International Airport. The young snake measuring about one foot in length was found at about 8:00 p.m. during a routine inspection of the bin, which was located near Baggage Claim Area D.

Inspectors believe the snake may have been initially contained in an airline sickness package, but freed itself and was loose in the amnesty bin at the time the bin was inspected. The snake was held overnight at the Airport Plant Quarantine Office and transported to the main Plant Quarantine Station in Kakaako this morning.

Amnesty bins are located on the walkways leading to baggage claim areas and provide a last chance for passengers to turn in illegal plant material or animals and avoid prosecution. The bins are checked about every 24 hours.

A photo opportunity of the snake is scheduled this afternoon between 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Plant Quarantine Branch, 701 llalo Street (corner of Cooke and Ilalo Streets).

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.

Persons possessing illegal animals 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 voluntarily turn them in under the department’s Amnesty Program, which offers 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).