Snake Killed by Lanscaping Crew Near Honolulu Airport
NR12-01 – January 25, 2012
HONOLULU – A two-foot-long snake was weed-whacked to death this morning near the airport area around Nimitz Highway and Valkenburg Ave. A landscaping crew from Island Landscaping was cutting grass along the on-ramp to the freeway at about 8:45 a.m. when the snake was injured by the weed-whacker. The snake died soon after. The crew called police and inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), who retrieved the dead snake.
The age, sex and species of the snake have not been determined at this time. It is not known how the snake got there.
Snakes are illegal to possess and transport to Hawaii and HDOA urges those who spot illegal animals or who know of persons possessing illegal animals to call the State’s PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST(7378).
The State’s Amnesty Program allows illegal animals to be turned in and provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, Honolulu Zoo, Panaewa Zoo in Hilo or any Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed. Animals turned in under amnesty will not be euthanized. The maximum penalty under State law for possessing and/or transporting illegal animals is a class C felony, $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
Snakes and large lizards have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to Hawai`i’s environment because they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat. Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to our endangered native birds. Large snakes may also kill pets and even humans.
UPDATE: The snake has been identified as a male bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi), which is a subspecies of the gopher snake. From the size of the snake, it is believed to be a juvenile.
Bullsnakes are non-venomous. They are found in North America and may grow up to about six feet. Their diet consists of small rodents, young rabbits, lizards, birds and their eggs. Prey is killed by constriction and suffocation.