Snake Slithers From Man’s Backpack During Trip To Hawaii
By Parker Diakite
There was a slithery surprise found in a backpack at a vacation rental near Maui, Hawaii.
The Department of Agriculture said when the visitor arrived at the vacation rental and began to unpack, a snake slithered its way out of the man’s backpack.
The 20-year-old Virginia man was not aware of the animal until it arrived at the vacation property in the community, according to Hawaii News Now.
The property owner told the man that snakes were illegal in Hawaii before alerting police. State police along with the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources captured the snake.
Upon further investigation, officials found that the snake was stowed away in the man’s backpack but he claimed he did not intentionally bring the snake to the islands.
The southern black racer snake arrived on Maui from Florida, where the snake is commonly found.
Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a threat to Hawaii’s native species.
“It is fortunate that the owner of the rental was aware of the seriousness of the snake being transported to Hawaii and took appropriate action and reported it,” Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, told Hawaii News Now.
“Visitors to our islands may not fully understand the threat that snakes pose to our community and our unique environment. It takes all of us to protect Hawaii,” Shimabukuro-Geiser added.
The snake, which is non-venomous, measured about a foot long and a quarter-inch in diameter, according to officials.
The snake will be transported to Oahu where it will be handled accordingly.
Hawaii state law classifies owning or knowingly transporting illegal pets as a felony, punishable with a $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
“Be informed about the very special place you live that is Hawaii,” ecosystem expert Dr. Fern Duvall said. “We should pay attention to what plants and animals we see – report things you feel are new to you as prevention is so much more important than having to react to established foreign pests out of control.”