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Motorist kills 5-foot boa constrictor on Pali Highway

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:49 a.m. HST, Oct 1, 2013

A motorist apparently ran over and killed a 5-foot long boa constrictor on the Pali Highway near the entrance to the Nuuanu Reservoir on Sept. 22, according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

According to a release issued by the department Monday, the motorist was traveling town-bound on the Pali Highway near the entrance to the Nuuanu Reservoir at about 5 p.m. when he ran over the snake. He pulled over, picked it up and took it to a relative's home. The motorist contacted HDOA the next day, and Plant Quarantine inspectors took possession of the snake.  

Several inspectors searched the area where it was found, but did not find evidence of any other snakes.

In the news release, Russell S. Kokubun, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, said: "Any snake found in the wild in Hawaii is of serious concern." He added, "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. 

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.

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