One thing that distinguishes Hawaii from, say Brazil, is that there aren’t any snakes. At least there aren’t supposed to be.
That’s why farm workers in central Oahu were likely surprised this week when they came across a boa constrictor.
Same goes for an assuming Waikiki tourist who found a garter snake in one of her bags on Wednesday. She turned it in to the hotel’s front desk.
From the Dept. of Ag.:
On Tuesday (7/31), a Central O`ahu farm turned in a dead boa constrictor which measured about six feet in length. Workers harvesting a field early in the morning came upon the snake and incapacitated the snake. The carcass was later turned in to HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Office.
Yesterday morning, a guest at a Waikiki hotel reportedly found a dead garter snake in a carry-on bag and turned the snake in to the front desk. The snake, which appeared to be dried and dead for a while, measured about six-inches long and was picked up by Plant Quarantine inspectors. The visitor is from Washington State and arrived in Honolulu on Monday.
Boa constrictors are non-venomous and are native to Central and South America. They may grow up to 12 feet in length and have a normal diet of small mammals such as mice and rats. Snakes have no natural predators in Hawai`i and pose a serious threat to Hawai`i’s 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.
Garter snakes are native to North and Central America. They produce a mild neurotoxin, but are not considered a danger to humans. Their diet consists of lizards, amphibians, insects and aquatic animals. Depending on the species, they may grow to about four-and-half feet long.
Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the State’s Amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Anyone with knowledge of illegal animals in Hawai`i is asked to call the toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).
State ag officials have been battling to keep snakes out of Hawaii. A recent trip by Civil Beat to the Oahu quarantine office found a room full of them: Ag Dept. Struggles With Unwelcome Animals.
Pic. of the dead garter snake: