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For Immediate Release: August 12, 2005                                    
NR05 -14


HONOLULU – A late night visitor startled a Kuliouou resident last night when he opened the door to his garage at about 11:30 p.m. and saw a large snake.  He shut the door and called police, who called inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) to capture the snake at the home on Kuliouou Road.

The snake has been identified as a non-venomous ball python and although the snake has not been formally measured at the time of this release, it is estimated to be between 4 to 5 feet long.  The animal is being safeguarded at the HDOAÂ’s Plant Quarantine Branch.

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.

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 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. 


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
To E-mail, click here