State officials recovered an illegal 4 1/2-foot ball python over the weekend, the Department of Agriculture said.
Someone turned over the non-venomous snake, which weighs about 4 1/2 pounds, to the Hawaiian Humane Society on Friday as part of the state’s Amnesty Program, which allows illegal animals to be turned in with no questions asked.
Agriculture Department officials picked up the reptile Saturday morning and were safeguarding it at the Plant Quarantine branch.
Snakes are illegal in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to the state’s environment because they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat and have no natural predators here, the Agriculture Department said.
Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to endangered native birds, and larger snakes can pose a danger to the public and small pets, the department said.
Ball pythons are related to boas and subdue their prey by coiling around and suffocating it. They can grow up to six-feet long.
Anyone with information about illegal animals should call the pest hotline at 643-PEST (7378). The maximum penalty under state law for possession of illegal animals is a $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison.