Hawai'i State News

3-foot long ball python found in O‘ahu home

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A 3-and-a-half-foot long ball python was found in an O‘ahu home after officers responded to do a wellness check on the resident who was dead.

Ball python found in O‘ahu home. Photo credit: Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture

The snake was discovered on April 13. Honolulu Police Department contacted the Plant Quarantine Branch of the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture and inspectors were immediately dispatched to the Waipahu home and took custody of the non-venomous ball python. The sex of the snake has not been determined and is being safeguarded at the state agency.

Snakes are illegal to transport and possess in Hawai‘i and the incident has been forwarded to the Department of the Attorney General. Individuals possessing illegal animals may be charged with a class C felony, face fines of up to $200,000 and three years in prison.

Ball pythons may grow up to six feet in length. They are common in the pet trade and are native to Western and West-Central Africa. Ball pythons are constrictors that coil around its prey and kill by suffocation. A ball python’s diet typically consists of small mammals and birds.


“We should all be very concerned that snakes are being transported and kept by residents which are a serious threat to Hawai‘i’s unique environment,” said Sharon Hurd, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture.

Hurd encouraged anyone who knows someone with an illegal animal to report it, and those who possess these animals should turn them in under amnesty.

”The state’s Amnesty Program was established to help prevent illegal animals from being released into the wild where it could be devastating if populations become established,” Hurd added.


Under the Amnesty Program, illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA office, any municipal zoo or aquarium or the Hawaiian Humane Society. If illegal animals are turned in before the start of an investigation, no criminal charges or fines will be assessed.

Animals turned in under amnesty will not be euthanized. Depending on the species, illegal animals may be used for educational purposes, transferred to a municipal zoo or relocated to an appropriate facility on the mainland.

Snakes and large reptiles have no natural predators in Hawai‘i. Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to endangered native birds. They also compete with native animals for food and habitat.


Large snakes may also be a threat to humans and small pets.

Anyone with information about illegal animals should call the statewide toll-free PEST HOTLINE at (808) 643-PEST (7378).

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