HILO, Hawaii: Two large snakes were turned into the Hilo Plant Quarantine facility on June 13, the latest reptiles to join a list of 12 illegal animals that have been surrendered since June 29th.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture says a five foot, 9 inch Boa Constrictor (native to South and Central America) and an 8 foot, 8 inch albino burmese python (of south east Asia) were turned in under amnesty, which means the owners will not face any sort of punishment for owning the snakes. The DOA says the delivery was the result of a “Probable CrimeStoppers tip”.
The two snakes join two other illegal snakes turned in on Oahu, and another 8 lizards, including two well publicized bearded dragons in Kona.
According to the DOA news release:
Snakes and large lizards have no natural predators in Hawai`i and pose a serious threat to Hawai`’s environment because they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat. Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to our endangered native birds. Large snakes may also kill pets and even humans.
Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the State’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, Honolulu Zoo, Panaewa Zoo in Hilo or any Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed. Animals turned in under amnesty will not be euthanized and will be sent to a reptile facility on the mainland.
The maximum penalty under State law for possessing and/or transporting illegal animals is a class C felony, $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison. Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378) or CrimeStoppers on your island.