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For Immediate Release: August 25, 2004


Honolulu - A four-foot-long ball python snake was spotted and captured last night by two men driving in Waipahu.  They reported the capture to police and an inspector from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) picked up the snake from the Waianae home of one of the men at about 1:30 a.m. this morning. 

The men told the inspector that they were driving on Waipahu Street near Waipahu Elementary School at about 9:30 p.m. when one of the men spotted the snake along the side of the road. The driver turned his vehicle around and they picked up the snake. 

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, Honolulu Zoo or any Humane Society - no questions asked and no fines assessed.  Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the Plant Quarantine Branch at 832-0566 or the PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST (7378).

Snakes and other reptiles turned in under amnesty will not be killed. Through an agreement with the Honolulu Zoo, illegal reptiles are sent to a reptile farm in Florida where animals are placed into other zoos or educational institutions.  The Honolulu Zoo then benefits from this by obtaining other animals in exchange for display at the zoo.

Ball pythons are common in the pet trade on the mainland and are native to Western and West-Central Africa.  They are called ball pythons because, when frightened, they coil around their head into a tight ball.  They are non-venomous and related to boas, which are also constrictors that subdue its prey by coiling around and suffocating it.  Its diet usually consists of small mammals and birds.  Ball pythons may grow up to six feet long. 

Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to Hawaii'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 our endangered native birds.


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
[email protected]