Authorities capture illegal ball python, iguana on Oahu

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has captured a ball python and an iguana in separate residential areas on Oahu, both of which are illegal to own in the state.

The Honolulu Police Department responded on Monday to home in Aiea after a resident reported seeing a 3-foot-long (0.9-meter-long) snake at a neighbor’s home. Arriving officers covered the snake, identified as a ball python, with a trash can and called agricultural inspectors, who then took it to a department quarantine facility.

Ball pythons are not poisonous and are commonly traded as pets in the U.S., but pose a threat to Hawaii’s environment as they can prey on native birds and their eggs. It is unclear if the snake escaped from the home, northwest of Honolulu.

The reptiles are native to western and west-central Africa and primarily subdues prey by constricting and suffocating them. Ball pythons can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long.

Police said in a separate incident that a woman on Tuesday reported an iguana in her backyard on Kumuhau Street in Waimanalo, northeast of Honolulu. Arriving officers contained the animal, more than 3 feet long (0.9 meter long), until agricultural inspectors arrived and transferred it to a quarantine facility.

Iguanas, native to central Mexico through South America, are known to have established populations in parts of the island, but they are illegal to import, possess and transport in the state.

Iguanas are typically vegetarian but are known to disturb bird nestlings and eat eggs. Department officials said their tails can be dangerous weapons in confrontations. The reptiles, like ball pythons, can also grow about 6 feet (1.8 meters) long.

Authorities have warned residents that illegal animal possession can result in fines up to $200,000 and three years in prison.

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