The pet snake was transported to the Honolulu Department of Agriculture’s Quarantine Branch.
Landfill workers with the Hawaii County South Hilo Sanitary Landfill on the Big Island of Hawaii found a seemingly very healthy ball python (Python regius) crawling on a road near the landfill over the weekend of June 2. Snakes, of which there are no native species on any of the Hawaiian islands, are illegal to keep in the state. This one, based on the photo released by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, was seemingly in excellent health and was most likely somebody’s pet at one point.
Snakes are illegal to keep in the state of Hawaii.
The snake was handed off to Hawaii County police, who contacted the Honolulu Department of Agriculture’s Quarantine Branch, which will take the reptile to Oahu, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Most reptiles in Hawaii are non-native, invasive species. This isn’t the first time that a snake has been captured in the state. In 2011, pig hunters on O’ahu captured a nine-foot boa constrictor near the Halawa Correctional facility in Halawa Valley, and in September 2015, a 2 ½-foot-long ball python was captured in a garage in Pearl City, also on the island of O’ahu.
The possession and transportation of snakes is illegal in Hawaii and is a class c felony, but that hasn't stopped some folks from bringing them in as pets. The state has an amnesty program that enables anyone in possession of snakes, large lizards and other species that are illegal to own in the state, to turn them into any Hawaiian Department of Agriculture (HDOA) office, the Honolulu Zoo, Panaewa Zoo in Hilo or any Humane Society. Those convicted of possessing or transporting illegal animals are subject to a $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison. Nobody has yet paid the fine.
Hawaii is home to several invasive species of lizards, including the Jackson's chameleon and the giant day gecko, among others. In fact, most lizards and amphibians in Hawaii are introduced species. If you visit Hawaii, you can still go herping.