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Six Foot Long Snake Found in Oahu Field – Snakes in Hawaii?

*I don’t know how I missed this on the news recently*

Two dead snakes have been turned in to the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) in two separate incidents recently.

On Tuesday (7/31), a Central O`ahu farm turned in a dead boa constrictor which measured about six feet in length.  Workers harvesting a field early in the morning came upon the snake and incapacitated the snake. The carcass was later turned in to HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Office.

In a separate incident, a guest at a Waikiki hotel reportedly found a dead garter snake in a carry-on bag and turned the snake in to the front desk.

Garter snake turned in at Waikiki hotel

The snake, which appeared to be dried and dead for a while, measured about six-inches long and was picked up by Plant Quarantine inspectors.  The visitor is from Washington State and arrived in Honolulu on Monday.

Boa constrictors are non-venomous and are native to Central and South America.  They may grow up to 12 feet in length and have a normal diet of small mammals such as mice and rats.  Snakes have no natural predators in Hawai`i and pose a serious threat to Hawai`i’s environment.  Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to endangered native birds.  Large snakes can also be a danger to the public and small pets.

Garter snakes are native to North and Central America.  They produce a mild neurotoxin, but are not considered a danger to humans.  Their diet consists of lizards, amphibians, insects and aquatic animals.  Depending on the species, they may grow to about four-and-half feet long.

Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the State’s Amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution.  Anyone with knowledge of illegal animals in Hawai`i is asked to call the toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).

Snake Reported in Puna… Pictures

Puna resident Tom Lackey recently reported that he called in a snake to the DLNR.  I haven’t been able to find any police reports or other reports, but Tom Lackey doesn’t seem to be one to make up too many stories.

The following is an account he posted on Punaweb and below are some pictures that he sent me:

A very interesting situation happened to me the day after Xmas. One of my neighbor friends [yes, I do have neighbor friends] came thru my back yard to visit and Toast [my devoted dog] announced his visit. He informed me that he just saw a snake slither away from him. I asked, “are you sure?” He said, “hey Lack I lived in Florida for years and I recognize what a snake looks like, it was a brown snake.” He told me that it was coiled up and when he approached it the snake slithered off thru a loose rock wall behind my house. We did what I think any responsible citizen would do and called the police. They said, what ever you do don’t touch it, we’ll have someone out to take a look. Then the operator said that she informed DLNR and they will handle it. DLNR passed it off to the Ag people and we got two calls from them. This all happened within ten minutesMy neighbor and I though Wow, these people are really taking some decisive action here. The Ag guy wanted to babble with my neighbor on the phone and after quizzing him about his ability to recognizing a snake they derivably determined to come to my house and investigate. When these guys showed they were prepared for big game. One was wearing thick rubber boots and heavy leather gloves. Both had snake grabber sticks and an array of snake things to catch a snake. Also within their arsenal they had a video camera. This was too much fun for me so I went into the house and got my camera and documented it all. I informed the Ag guys that I had shot a couple of rats in the last few days and if they wanted when they located the snake I would be glad to dispatch it to a better life. They just laughed and said “stand by with that”

While the four of us were trying to locate the snake, them in snake gear and us in shorts and flip flops my neighbor asked,” if it was a poisonous snake and any of us got bit do they have any anti venom on the island?” There response was “not a drop” it has a short shelf life and they don’t get any snake bites in Hawaii. So I said, ‘so then why all the snake gear if we don’t get snake bites?”

The snake hunt went on for about a hour and the two Ag guys would confer with each other and at one point we heard them say, “ there is a lot of activity here,” when poking thru some dead leafs I asked if they had some snake traps that they could set out and they said, “we have some in Honolulu but none here.”

The snake was about 1 ½ feet long and about 1 ½ inch in diameter, brown in color. It very possibility could be a brown tree snake from areas like Guam and very dangerous. As the Ag guy said, “it most likely is a baby snake and not a big threat.” What I said? Baby snakes come from big mama snakes and we could have a bunch of them here. They laughed and left me their number and said to call if I spotted it again. The Hunt was over and the snake is at large behind my house. I don’t care how many people call the police if I see the snake I’m going to blow it’s head clean off

With the great food source here in Puna we may have a new invasive foe. The Brown Tree Snake.

The Lack

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