A dead snake was turned over to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) last week after it was apparently run over and killed by a Windward motorist on the Pali Highway on Sept. 22.
The motorist said he was traveling in the Honolulu-bound direction on the Pali Highway near the entrance to the Nuuanu Reservoir at about 5 p.m. when he ran over the 5-foot-long snake. He pulled over and picked up the dead snake, and took it to a relative’s home.
The motorist called HDOA Monday afternoon and Plant Quarantine inspectors picked up the snake, which was later identified as a boa constrictor.
After picking up the dead snake within an hour after it was reported, several inspectors went directly to the area where it was found, but did not find evidence of any other snakes.
“Any snake found in the wild in Hawaii is of serious concern,” said Russell S. Kokubun, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Boa constrictors may grow up to 12 feet, which is particularly troubling for nearby residents and for the environment.”
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). Snakes and large lizards have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to Hawaii’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.
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, a class C felony, is a $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison.