Another snake turned in

HONOLULU — The Honolulu Police Department on Friday delivered another snake — the fifth in recent weeks — to the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture after it was turned in by its owner under the state’s amnesty program, according to a HDOA press release.

Initial information to HPD’s CrimeStoppers program indicated the snake is a boa constrictor, but the state later confirmed the snake as a ball python, native of West and Central Africa.

HPD officers went to a residence in Whitmore Village Friday and plan to transport the snake to HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch. The ball python is the 5th snake and the 13th illegal animal captured or turned in since June 29.

A nine-foot boa constrictor was caught on July 4 in the wild on O‘ahu; while three other snakes, an albino Burmese python and a boa cosntrictor from Hilo and an albino Burmese python from O‘ahu, were turned in under the State’s Amnesty Law.

In addition, eight illegal lizards were turned in, including three bearded dragons (two from Kona and one from O‘ahu), one blue-tongued skink, one tegu lizard, one iguana and two leopard geckos (all from O‘ahu).

Some of the incidents were prompted by the HPD’s Crimestoppers program which offers rewards for tips on illegal animals.

Snakes and large lizards have no natural predators in Hawai‘i and pose a serious threat to Hawai‘i’s environment because they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat. Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to our endangered native birds. Large snakes may also kill pets and even humans.

Boa constrictors are non-venomous and are native to Central and South America. They can grow up to 12 feet in length and have a normal diet of small mammals such as mice and rats.

Burmese pythons can easily reach seven feet in a year. They reach adult size by age four, but can continue to grow throughout their lives, up to 12 feet.

Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the state’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA office or to the Humane Society, no questions asked and no fines assessed. Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the toll-free Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378) or CrimeStoppers.

The maximum penalty under state law for possessing and/or transporting illegal animals is a class C felony, $200,000 fine, and up to three years in prison.

13 illegal animals in less than 1 month

Date            Animal           Size      Island      Species origin       Remarks

June 29  Eastern blue-tongued skink  17.5”  O‘ahu  Australia    Cr.Stoppers

June 29  Bearded dragon    14”    O‘ahu            Australia     CrimeStoppers

July 4    Boa constrictor    9’3”      O‘ahu          South America    wild

July 5    Bearded dragon    14.25”   Big Island    Australia    Amnesty

July 5    Baby Bearded dragon    11”       Big Island    Australia    Amnesty

July 5    Tegu lizard    4’5”                   O‘ahu    South America    Amnesty

July 8    Burmese python    7’6”          O‘ahu    Southeast Asia  Cr.Stoppers

July 10  Baby Iguana    15”                O‘ahu     South America     Amnesty

July 10  2 leopard geckos w/eggs    8”    O‘ahu    Afghanistan    Amnesty

July 13  Burmese python  8’8”     Big Island    South East Asia     Amnesty

July 4    Boa constrictor    5’9”     Big Island    South America    Amnesty

July 22  Ball python    Unknown    O‘ahu           West Africa       Amnesty

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