Maui News

Slithering in Waipahu; police find live snake while checking residence

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Honolulu police officers found a live, non-venomous ball python snake at a Waipahu home on Saturday morning. It was taken to the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch. PC: Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture

Honolulu police officers came across a live, non-venomous ball python in a Waipahu home on Saturday morning, while conducting a wellness check for a man who passed away, according to the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

Police contacted the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch, and inspectors were immediately dispatched to the scene. They took custody of the 3 1/2-foot long snake. Its gender was not immediately known. It was being safeguarded at the Plant Quarantine Branch.

A captured ball python is being kept at the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch. PC: Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture

Snakes are illegal to transport and possess in Hawai‘i. The matter has been forwarded the Department of the Attorney General. Individuals possessing illegal animals may be charged with a class C felony, fined up to $200,000, and sentenced to as much as three years in prison.


“We should all be very concerned that snakes are being transported and kept by residents which are a serious threat to Hawai‘i’s unique environment,” said Sharon Hurd, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. “Those who know anyone with snakes or other illegal animals in Hawai‘i should report it and those who possess them should turn them in under amnesty.”

”The state’s Amnesty Program was established to help prevent illegal animals from being released into the wild where it could be devastating if populations become established,” Hurd added.

Under the Amnesty Program, illegal animals may be turned in to any Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture office, any municipal zoo or aquarium, or the Hawaiian Humane Society. If illegal animals are turned in prior to the start of an investigation, no criminal charges or fines will be assessed. Animals turned in under amnesty will not be euthanized. Depending on the species, illegal animals may be used for educational purposes, transferred to a municipal zoo or relocated to an appropriate facility on the mainland.


Ball pythons may grow up to 6 feet long. They are common in the pet trade and native to Western and West-Central Africa. Ball pythons are constrictors that coil around their prey and kill by suffocation. A ball python’s diet typically consists of small mammals and birds.

Snakes and large reptiles have no natural predators in Hawai‘i. Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to our endangered native birds. They also compete with native animals for food and habitat. Large snakes may also be a threat to humans and small pets.

Anyone with information about illegal animals should call the statewide toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 808-643-PEST (7378). 


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