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