Live Boa Constrictor Found in Shipping Container in Honolulu

August 24, 2017, 4:13 PM HST · Updated August 24, 4:15 PM
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Cargo workers at a Honolulu shipping company found a live three-foot boa constrictor in a shipment of household goods earlier this morning.

A live boa constrictor was found in a shipping container from California on Aug. 24, 2017. Photo Courtesy

One worker spotted the snake as they were unloading a pallet from a container that arrived from California and used a stick and a bucket to capture the snake and held it until agricultural inspectors arrived.

Officials with the Department of Agriculture said inspectors conducted a search of the area and did not find any other snakes and that they will also be on site when the rest of the freight is unloaded.

The snake is currently being safeguarded at the Plant Quarantine Branch of the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. It will be used for training and educational purposes until it can be relocated on the Mainland.

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Officials say that 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.

Department officials note that 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.

On June 30, 2017, a five-foot boa constrictor was found dead in an area that is a preserve for many endangered native birds and other biota on the island of Kauaʻi.

Snakes are illegal in Hawai‘i. Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.

Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378). 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, municipal zoo or Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed.


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