A live boa constrictor found in a shipment of household goods was spotted this morning by workers who were unloading a pallet, then used a stick and bucket to capture it.
The three-foot snake was spotted by an alert Honolulu shipping company worker unloading the pallet from a container that arrived from California. Agricultural inspectors who arrived afterward searched the area and didn’t find any other snakes.
The boa constrictor, which was taken to the Plant Quarantine Branch of the state Department of Agriculture, will be kept and used for training and educational purposes until it can be relocated on the Mainland, the department said in a press release.
Boa constrictors, which can grow up to 12 feet long, are non-venomous and native to Central and South America. They eat small mammals like mice and rats.
“Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to Hawaii’s 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,” the department said in a press release.
Because they are illegal here, anyone caught with a snake faces fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.
Tips on the whereabouts of illegal animals can be reported to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378). An amnesty program allows illegal animals to be turned in to any HDOA office, municipal zoo or Humane Society with no questions asked and fines.