HONOLULU (KHON2) — A live 28-inch ball python snake was found in Kahaluu, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The individual said they found the snake in Kahaluu and wanted to remain anonymous as they dropped the snake off at the Honolulu Zoo yesterday afternoon on Wednesday, Jan. 11. under the state’s Amnesty Program.

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The Honolulu Zoo identified the snake as a non-venomous ball python and contracted HDOA.

Jonathan Ho, Department of Agriculture inspection and compliance section chief for quarantine branch, said they need the public’s help to protect Hawaii’s unique and fragile native plants and animals.

Agricultural inspectors from PQB were dispatched to the scene and immediately took custody of the snake.

The HDOA is reminding the public that snakes are illegal to transport and possess in Hawaii.

“Having snakes could be the nail in the coffin for a lot of those animals,” said Ho.

Under the Amnesty Program, illegal animals can be turned in at the HDOA office, Humane Society, aquarium and zoo.

“We encourage people to surrender stuff, because it’s far better for us to take it and deal with it, then, you know, it’s too big, or I can’t feed it or whatever and release it. And then something bad happens,” said Ho.

He said though this snake was tiny, they’ve found larger ones in the past big enough to swallow a small pet or even a small child.

According to Ho, they’re examining the reptile to check if it has any parasites or diseases, before sending it out of state.

If the illegal animal is turned in before the start of an investigation there will be no criminal charges or fines, according to HDOA.

From fire ants and tarantulas to coqui frogs and bearded dragons, invasive species continue to make their way to the islands, hitchhiking in shipping containers, or smuggled in intentionally.

No matter how they get here, they’re bad news.

“All of the native species here have evolved to not have to deal with that type of pressure,” Ho explained.

According to DOA, they find new species of pests every month.

Ho said last year alone they found three snakes.

Several skunks were also caught.

There were even numerous reports of a large wild cat spotted on the Big Island last summer, which DLNR has so far, not been able to confirm.

Ho said they are trying to prevent invasive species from establishing themselves, like the coconut rhinoceros beetle currently decimating various palm and tropical plants in certain areas of Oahu.

Even animals with established populations like the Wallaby in Kalihi valley that have been here for decades are still considered invasive and illegal to import.

“Just because something is established, doesn’t mean, you’re going to get the right to import it,” Ho said.

Those who possess illegal animals may be charged with a class C felony, face fines of up to $200,000 and three years in prison.

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