Ball Python Turned in Under Amnesty Program

January 17, 2017, 2:48 PM HST · Updated January 17, 2:50 PM
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Ball Python. PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

An illegal snake was turned in over the weekend under the State’s Amnesty Program. The snake was turned in on the evening of Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to the Hawaiian Humane Society on Oʻahu.

Inspectors from the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture picked up the snake the next morning and say it is being safeguarded at the Plant Quarantine Branch. It has been identified as a ball python and measures about 4.5 feet long and weighs about 4.5 pounds.

Snakes are illegal in Hawaiʻi. Agricultural officials say they have no natural predators here and pose a serious threat to Hawaiʻi’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 endangered native birds. Large snakes can also be a danger to the public and small pets.

Ball pythons are non-venomous and are common in the pet trade on the mainland. They are native to Western and West-Central Africa and are related to boas, which are also constrictors that subdue their prey by coiling around and suffocating their prey. Its diet usually consists of small mammals and birds. Ball pythons may grow up to six-feet long.

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Under the amnesty program, illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA office, Honolulu Zoo, Panaewa Zoo on Hawaiʻi Island or any Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed.

Anyone with information about illegal animals should call the toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378). The maximum penalty under State law for possession and/or transporting illegal animals is a class C felony, $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

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