A live boa constrictor found in a shipment of household goods was spotted Thursday morning by workers who were unloading a pallet and then used a stick and bucket to capture it.
The 3-foot snake was spotted by an alert Honolulu shipping company worker as the pallet was being unloaded from a container that arrived from California. Agricultural inspectors searched the area afterward 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 to the mainland, the department said in a news release.
Boa constrictors, which can grow up to 12 feet long, are nonvenomous and native to Central and South America. They eat small mammals such as 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.
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.