State agricultural inspectors recovered the body of a 5-foot boa constrictor Friday in Haena, Kauai, the Department of Agriculture said.
The dead snake was found by a jogger along Kuhio Highway in a preserve for endangered native birds and other biota, the department said in a news release.
The gender of the snake and its cause of death were unknown. The snake’s body will be transported to Honolulu where it will be examined and cataloged by a zoologist at Bishop Museum.
The Agriculture Department said officials were concerned about where the snake was found, given that many snake species feed on birds and their eggs. Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a threat to endangered native bird populations and the islands’ environment, the department said. In addition, large snakes can pose a danger to the public and small pets.
Boa constrictors are non-venomous and native to Central and South America. They can grow to 12 feet long and feed on small mammals such as mice and rats.
Snakes are illegal in Hawaii, and possession of such animals can lead to fines of up to $200,000 and imprisonment for up to three years.
Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s pest hotline at 643-PEST.
Illegal animals can be turned in under the state’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution.