A resident captured a 4-foot-long ball python snake while hunting in Windward Oahu, and turned it in Tuesday to the Hawaiian Humane Society.
The non-venomous snake, discovered in a forested area of Kahaluu, weighs 3 pounds. These constrictors subdue and kill birds and small mammals by coiling themselves around their prey and suffocating them.
It was immediately turned over by the humane society to the state Department of Agriculture’s plant quarantine inspectors.
It is being held at the Plant Quarantine Branch, the Agriculture Department said in a news release. It added that it is unknown how the snake arrived in Hawaii.
Ball pythons can grow up to 6 feet long, and are common in the pet trade on the mainland, the Agriculture Department said. It is native to Western and West-Central Africa.
They are considered a threat to Hawaii’s environment because they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat. Species of snakes such as the ball python prey on birds and bird eggs, which threaten endangered native bird species. Large snakes could pose a health and safety danger to humans, pets and other domestic animals.
Snakes are illegal to import and to possess in Hawaii. Anyone with illegal animals is encouraged to voluntarily turn them in under the amnesty program. If they do so before the start of an investigation, no criminal or civil penalties will be assessed. Any illegal animal may be dropped off at any state agriculture office, local Humane Society or at municipal zoos.
Animals turned in under amnesty will not be euthanized.
Individuals possessing illegal animals face charges of a class C felony, fines of up to $200,000, and imprisonment of up to five years.
Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).