DOA News release on snake found in PukalaniPosted on May 16, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom
HONOLULU – A live snake was captured in Pukalani on Maui yesterday afternoon on the side of the road near the Pukalani Golf Club. A resident called the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture and reported that he saw children playing with a snake at about 3:00 p.m. yesterday. Agricultural inspectors from the Maui Plant Quarantine Branch were immediately dispatched and found the snake had been contained in a plastic garbage bin. The snake measured 3½ feet long and has been tentatively identified as a non-venomous female gopher snake.
Officers from the Maui Police Department were also on the scene and assisted inspectors in securing the snake. Inspectors surveyed the immediate area and no other evidence of snakes was found. The snake was transported to the Plant Quarantine Office and was humanely euthanized.
Snakes are illegal in Hawai`i. Gopher snakes are found in North America and can grow up to about seven feet. Its diet consists of small rodents, young rabbits, lizards, birds and their eggs. Prey is killed by constriction and suffocation.
Snakes and large reptiles have no natural predators in Hawai`i and pose a serious threat to the state’s unique ecosystem as 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 be a threat to humans and small pets.
If a snake is spotted, treat it as if it is venomous. Do not handle it. It is best to maintain visual contact at a safe distance and when possible, safely cover or contain the snake. Immediately report it to the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at (808) 643-PEST (7378).
Editor’s Note: No photos available
Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer
Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture