Cobra wine is a concoction that is sold to remedy certain ailments such as rheumatism and hair loss.
Would you drink "Cobra Snake" wine to help with hair loss or rheumatism? I sure as heck wouldn't, but some folks in Hawaii imported the concoctions from Vietnam and then discarded them after finding out that it is all a bunch of snake oil. KITV 4 News reported that a custodian at a Waikiki library in Honolulu was throwing out some trash when she found four such bottles of the wine, three of which contained dead cobras in them, and a fourth with geckos and seahorses.
Inspectors with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture's Plant Quarantine branch were called and took the bottles away and said that snake wine is not illegal because the snakes are dead. However, certain cobras are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and have certain restrictions with regard to their importation dead or alive. The species of the cobras in the snake wine were not identified by the Department of Agriculture.
Snakes are illegal to transport to Hawaii, though some residents import them into the state and keep them as pets. Boa constrictors have been captured or killed on Oahu island, and cobras and brown tree snakes have been found at the state's airports, most likely stowaways on military cargo planes.
So would you take a few swigs of this wine?
John B. Virata currently keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5.