A nonvenomous ball python snake estimated at 4-1/2 to 5 feet long was en route to the state Department of Agriculture’s plant quarantine branch in Honolulu after it was discovered over the weekend in Hilo, agriculture officials said today.
Hawaii County South Hilo Sanitary Landfill workers found the snake over the weekend on the road next to the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill. County police contacted the Agriculture Department’s plant quarantine branch in Hilo Monday morning and inspectors retrieved the snake and planned to take it to Honolulu, agriculture officials said.
Ball pythons can grow up to 6 feet long, usually dine on small mammals and birds and are popular in the mainland pet trade, agriculture officials said. Native to Western and West-Central Africa, constrictors like the ball python coil around their prey and kill them through suffocation.
Agriculture officials today reminded the public that snakes have no natural predators in the islands and many species prey on birds and eggs, increasing the threat to endangered native birds.
Officials urge anyone to call the state’s toll-free pest hotline at 643-PEST (7378) or turn in illegal animals in under the state’s amnesty program.