HDOA NEWS RELEASE: Snake Captured in Aiea and Iguana Captured in Waimanalo This Week

Posted on Feb 19, 2021 in Latest News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – A live snake was captured in a residential neighborhood in Aiea on Monday morning.  The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) was contacted  by a neighbor who spotted the snake on another property at about 10 a.m. Responding officers were able to cover the 3-foot-long snake with a trash can and contacted  agricultural inspectors from the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) who took custody of the snake. The snake has been identified as a non-venomous ball python and is being safeguarded at HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch (PQB). The incident is still under investigation.

Ball pythons are common in the pet trade on the mainland. They are native to Western and West-Central Africa and are constrictors that subdue prey by coiling around it, causing death by suffocation. Their diet usually consists of small mammals and birds and may grow up to 6 feet long.

Snakes have no natural predators in Hawai`i and pose a serious threat to our 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.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Waimanalo woman who lives on Kumuhau Street contacted the HPD to report an iguana in her backyard. Responding officers were able to contain the animal and called HDOA agricultural inspectors who safely secured it. The iguana measured approximately 3-and-a-half feet from nose to tip of tail and is also being safeguarded at PQB. Although they are known to be established in some areas on O`ahu, it is illegal to import, possess or transport iguanas in Hawai`i.

When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to 6 feet in length. Its tail is quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Iguanas are native to central Mexico through South America and are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs.

Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.  Individuals who see or know of illegal animals in Hawai`i are encouraged to contact the State’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378) or turn them in under the State’s Amnesty Program.

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Attachment: Photo of snake (no photo of iguana)

Aloha,

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer

Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Phone: (808) 973-9560
e-mail:  [email protected]