Maui News

Live gopher snake found at Kapolei Home Depot

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The snake measures about 21 inches long and has been identified by reptile experts as a non-venomous juvenile gopher snake. PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

A live snake was captured at the Kapolei Home Depot Wednesday night by officers from the Honolulu Police Department who responded to a 911 call from employees at around 11 p.m.

Officers used a bucket to capture the snake which was spotted on a pallet in a shipping container of mixed goods. The snake was taken to the Kapolei Police Station where agricultural inspectors from the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture took custody of the snake on Thursday morning.

The snake measures about 21 inches long and has been identified by reptile experts as a non-venomous juvenile gopher snake. PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

The snake measures about 21 inches long and has been identified by reptile experts as a non-venomous juvenile gopher snake. Gopher snakes are found in North America and can grow up to about seven feet.  Their diet consists of small rodents, young rabbits, lizards, birds and their eggs.  Prey is killed by constriction and suffocation.

In Hawaiʻi, snakes are illegal to possess, have no natural predators, and pose a serious threat to Hawaiʻi’s unique ecosystem as they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat.

Agriculture inspectors from HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch also went to the store to survey the area and informed the store to contact HDOA if they spot any other hitchhiking animals.

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HDOA also reminds the public that those with illegal animals may turn them in under the State’s Amnesty Program to any HDOA office, Honolulu Zoo, Panaewa Zoo on Hawaiʻi Island or any Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed.

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Anyone with information about illegal animals should call the statewide 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. Sightings or captures of illegal animals or invasive species should also be reported to the hotline.

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