HONOLULU (KHON2) — Although Hawaii does not have an abundance of harmful animals, there are some animals that look scary.

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KHON2 spoke to Professor Daniel Rubinoff with the University of Hawaii Department of Plant & Environmental Protection Sciences about a few of the weird and scary looking animals.

Some of the scary and weird animals found in Hawaii:

  • Centipedes
  • Cane spider
  • Cockroaches
  • Brahminy blind snakes
  • Hawaiian happy-face spider
  • Scorpions
  • Sea urchin
  • Portuguese Man O’ War
  • Eels


Of the many centipedes introduced in Hawaii, Rubinoff said the one to look out for is the Scolopendra species of centipede, as it has a painful bite.

This animal can be very fast and hide in many places which is how they transferred to the Hawaiian Islands, suggested Rubinoff.

The color of these animals when they are juveniles are a lighter color brown with blue legs which eventually turn a red color when they grow to full size.

These venomous centipedes can eat anything from a gecko to a cockroach and even another centipede. “I’ve even been bitten in my bed by them and I’m not the only person I know who’s had that happen. The little ones will climb up into different things,” Said Rubinoff.

They often would die after six months or so [after capturing them] because they get infested with little, tiny mites.”

Professor Daniel Rubinoff with the University of Hawaii Department of Plant & Environmental Protection Sciences

Cane spider

The cane spider is another introduced animal to the Hawaiian Islands and has many different common names such as crab spider and banana spider.

Rubinoff suggests if someone has a large lizard population in their yard, they might see cane spiders less often as these spiders are eten by Anole lizards. However, these spiders do sometimes eat small house geckos and anything they can find smaller than them.

Cane spiders do not catch their food in a web “so you don’t see them sitting on webs,” said Rubinoff.

“They’re fast moving and just the span of their legs, it’s hard to mistake them for anything else,” said Rubinoff, referencing how big the spider is.

Click here to see a picture of a cane spider.


When traveling in Hawaii a very common animal that thrives in tropical nature is a cockroach. This is why people see many inside and outside in Hawaii.

Rubinoff said cockroaches are attracted to the light and many who live in Hawaii will see them if people keep a lot of lights on at night or keep trash in their house.

We also have probably about 20 species of cockroach that have been introduced here.”

Professor Daniel Rubinoff with the University of Hawaii Department of Plant & Environmental Protection Sciences

The most common cockroaches found in Hawaii are the American cockroach, German cockroach, and brown banded cockroach.

One thing to note is the emerald cockroach wasp or jewel wasp will kill cockroaches and not harm humans.

Brahminy blind snake

Many people do not think Hawaii has snakes, but they are wrong. Hawaii has a non-native Brahminy blind snake.

This animal looks much like a worm and was introduced in soil that people brought Rubinoff suggested.

As weird as they look, the blind snake is not harmful to humans as they eat termite and ant larvae.

Rubinoff said they have “degenerative eyes that are actually underneath their scales” that protect them when they are in the soil.

Hawaiian happy-face spider

One animal on this list that is native to the Hawaiian Islands is what is known as the happy face spider.

They get their name from the red with black markings on their back and a lot of them do not have the famous happy face pattern said Rubinoff. Click here to see a picture.

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They are harmless to humans and are very hard to find because they are typically found on the underside of leaves in the rainforest and are small in size.

“A really special species in Hawaii, a really cool one here, and if you’re lucky enough to see one, treat it gently,” said Rubinoff.