News Release – NR07-01 – January 30, 2007

Posted on Jan 30, 2007 in 2007 News Releases, News-Releases

HONOLULU – A snake that was found at Hilo Harbor last Friday (1/26) has been identified as a chequered keelback snake, also known as an Asiatic water snake (Xenochrophis piscator).  The non-venomous snake is commonly found in Asia and the East Indies, but not common in the pet trade in the U.S.  It is not known how the snake arrived in Hawaii.

On Friday, a construction worker working at Pier 2 in Hilo Harbor saw the two-foot-long snake under the pier and was able to kill it. The incident happened at about 9:30 a.m. and inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture were called to pick up the snake.  The snake was flown to Oahu late Friday afternoon and identified yesterday by a herpetologist at the Bishop Museum.

Snakes are illegal in Hawaii and anyone spotting a snake should not try to handle it.  Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii 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, municipal zoo or Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed. 

Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).