2 reptiles captured on Oahu

  • This snake was captured in a residential neighborhood in Aiea on Monday. The snake has been identified as a non-venomous ball python and is being safeguarded at HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch. The incident is still under investigation. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

A live snake and iguana were captured in two separate residential Oahu areas.

The snake was captured in a residential neighborhood in Aiea on Monday morning after a neighbor reported to the Honolulu Police Department having spotted the snake on another property at about 10 a.m. Responding officers were able to cover the 3-foot snake with a trash can and contacted agricultural inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture, who took custody of the snake. The snake has been identified as a non-venomous ball python and is being safeguarded at HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch. The incident is still under investigation.

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Ball pythons are common in the pet trade on the mainland. They are native to Western and West-Central Africa and are constrictors that subdue prey by coiling around it, causing death by suffocation. Their diet usually consists of small mammals and birds and may grow up to 6 feet long.

Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to our 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 Tuesday afternoon, a Waimanalo woman contacted police to report an iguana in her backyard. Responding officers were able to contain the animal and called agricultural inspectors who safely secured it. The iguana measured approximately 3.5 feet, and is also being safeguarded at PQB. Although they are known to be established in some areas on Oahu, it is illegal to import, possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii.

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When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to 6 feet. Its tail is quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Iguanas are native to central Mexico through South America and are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs.

Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison. Individuals who see or know of illegal animals in Hawaii are encouraged to contact the toll-free PEST HOTLINE at (808) 643-PEST (7378) or turn them in under the State’s Amnesty Program.

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