Snakes do exist in Hawaii, yes. But given that none of the terrestrial snakes present are endemic to any of the islands in the cherished archipelago, there shouldn’t be.
In reality, having a snake is illegal in Hawaii, and violators risk a $200,000 fine or three years in jail. Over the past few decades, the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture has effectively taken action against invasive snakes.
The safety of the local fauna is threatened by the introduction of non-native species since Hawaii’s ecology is so fragile.
On the island, snakes have no natural predators, making it simple for them to outcompete other creatures and even reduce their populations. Additionally, because they prey on native birds and their eggs, they represent a serious threat to their survival.
Several kinds of snakes may still be found in the state today, despite efforts to remove them. A list of snakes that have lived in Hawaii in the past or do so today may be found below.
What snakes are in Hawaii?
It’s said that Hawaii is akin to Eden. Hawaii was in fact a kind of utopian bio-dome before humans ever arrived on the islands.
Even the local brown cane spider, which in rare instances can bite with venom, is quite gentle and would rather flee than engage in combat. especially anything as big as a person. When humans first came, this is how they discovered the eco-system.
We are here to tell you that there were no native snakes on the Hawaiian islands, despite the fact that there are a few rather nasty species there.
The Hawaiian islands do, however, still have snakes living there now. They are outsiders who have been transported there by boats and airplanes.
Some of them were hitchhikers, while others were brought by criminals looking to earn a quick buck or two. The concept of keeping a pet snake is alluring to many people since they are unusual and hence unique.
These folks are catered to via the black market. Of course, doing this is very prohibited and is considered a class C crime on the islands. If detected, snake owners risk fines of up to $200,000 USD and a three-year maximum prison term!
If snakes survive in the wild after escaping from their owners’ houses, the populations of other animals suffer greatly. This is but one justification for the severe penalties and imprisonment. Several bird species are now threatened as a result of the arrival of snakes on the island. The Oahu Petrel, a species of bird, was formerly believed to be extinct.
Thank goodness, in 2019, a tiny group of the petrel species was rediscovered. On these islands, snakes have no natural predators. Therefore, if people are allowed to increase, they may take over the islands and drastically alter the eco-system!
A program offering amnesty to snake owners was also created in 2017 to entice them to give up their illegal pet. While many people have handed up their illegal animals as a result of this being helpful, many wild snakes are still roaming free.
What sort of snakes have been discovered there, then? Let’s explore the bushes and discover out!
Brahminy blind snake
One of only two snakes known to reside in Hawaii is the brahminy blind snake. It was originally native to specific regions of Africa and Asia, but it has now colonized a sizable portion of the world.
The only parthenogenetic species of snake, brahminy blind snakes are thought to be exclusively female. This indicates that a single snake can lay fertilized eggs that will hatch to generate children. In fact, as Hawaii has seen, only one brahminy blind snake is enough to produce an entire community of them.
The brahminy blind snake, with a maximum length of about six inches, is the smallest species of snake on the planet. It is commonly mistaken for a giant worm because of this and the pinkish tint of its skin. Brahminy blind snakes are completely blind, as the name implies.
Additionally, they are entirely venom-free (relief!) and mostly eat termites and ants for food. Although they frequently occur in Hawaii, they don’t pose a hazard to people.
Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake
A poisonous snake called the yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platurus) may be found in tropical waters all around the world, with the exception of the Atlantic Ocean. They are common in Hawaii and other tropical areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The snakes are periodically carried by currents into seas that are temperate, but they do not reproduce or mate there.
The snake’s lower half is yellowish, while its upper body is black or bluish-brown. The yellow tail bears a black bar or spots and is paddle-shaped. Its usual overall length is roughly three feet, or one meter, and it is rather thin.
In the broad ocean, far from reefs and beaches, the Yellow-bellied Sea Snake makes its home.
Sea snakes with a yellow belly have no predators. Predators are deterred by their vivid hue, but it’s also probable that their high level of toxicity renders them unappealing to them.
Only when an injured or ill animal floats with the current to the shallow water or to the shore are Yellow-bellied Sea Snake encounters likely to occur.
When cornered, they will bite, and their highly poisonous venom can result in paralysis and even death if not treated right away.
The snake’s vivid colors make it simple to identify. Even though it is quite unusual, you should immediately contact the local authorities if you find anything on the beach or in the sea. Even if it appears to be dead, do not touch it. They move quite quickly.
If you want to hike in Hawaii, at least, you won’t need to worry about anything, but it’s always a good idea to be on guard.
The ball python is a typical pet snake throughout the remainder of the United States because of its bigger head and diamond-like pattern, which make it one of the most identifiable snake species.
Although they are born tiny, they may grow up to six feet long if fed a diet rich in small animals and birds. For this reason, if they were ever released into the wild, they would devastate the Hawaiian ecology.
Three sightings of ball pythons have been reported in the past seven years despite rigorous prohibitions. For instance, a hunter discovered a 4-footer in 2020 in Kahalu’u Forest on Oahu Island and gave it to the humane organization.
Although nonvenomous, ball pythons are nonetheless ferocious predators that constrict their victims, stopping their breath and blood supply and occasionally shattering bones, before devouring them whole. They could be secure in a human residence, but Hawaii cannot manage them.
Brown Tree Snake
Only native to the islands that lie between the Indian and Pacific oceans, its influence has spread to other tropical nations with the advent of international trade and the use of boats and airplanes to transport people and goods across the oceans. They have a good amount of venom for humans, and if they feel threatened, they will bite.
They often feed on small animals and birds, and they have been known to consume up to 70% of their daily body weight in food. particularly when developing.
Many of the native animal species on the island were devastated once the brown tree snake arrived in Guam in 1952. Since the 1980s, direct flights have been regular between Guam and Hawaii.
Snakes frequently board this aircraft, lurking in the wheel wells and descending into the cargo hold. Upon arrival, many have been discovered. Unnoticed, some slither out into the grasslands and tropical woods to eat and propagate. On those lovely nature treks, be careful!
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has responded to the advent of these pests by introducing a novel eradication technique.
In addition to the fact that there are brown tree snakes in Hawaii, four sterile male brown tree snakes were deliberately brought in with 2018 to aid in sniffer dog training. Why? It is believed that the approach would slow down population growth and prevent the species from colonizing the islands and eradicating native fauna.
A five-foot-long boa constrictor was discovered near Kunia on the island of Oahu in March 2019. Though it’s not the only boa constrictor to have arrived on the island, it’s unclear how the snake came to Hawaii.
Two further boa constrictors were discovered in 2011 in two different situations. Two farm workers discovered the largest of the two constrictors, which was a whopping nine feet long. They were able to capture the snake and keep it overnight before turning it over to law enforcement the following day.
Another boa constrictor was unintentionally killed in 2013 when it was struck by a car while it was crossing a highway.
Despite being non-venomous, boa constrictors are infamous for their vicious attacks on prey. That entails a powerful death embrace that overwhelms the victim’s physiological processes and renders them unconscious.
Fortunately, boas hardly ever assault people. They eat mostly other amphibians and small rodents. Boa constrictors, which are native to South America, are also frequently kept as pets and have a thirty-year lifespan.
Owning a snake as a pet is entirely forbidden in Hawaii due of the possible harm they may cause to the local ecosystem if they escaped.
A tiny to medium-sized snake belonging to the genus Thamnophis in the family Colubridae, the garter snake is completely harmless. North and Central America are the snakes’ natural habitats. Depending on the subspecies, they have a wide range of visual variations, although most feature body stripes and occasionally spots.
The first consignment of garter snakes to Hawaii was a load of Christmas trees. In 2004, a shipment of Christmas trees from an Oregon business arrived at the store in Hawaii with a hitchhiker—a 13-inch garter snake.
Fortunately, the hitchhiker wasn’t able to flee into the woods since it was discovered. In 2020, it happened once more, but this hitchhiker passed away in the car.
Garter snakes consume a variety of tiny creatures, such as fish, insects, and amphibians. They have no known predators in Hawaii, and if they managed to establish a presence in the island’s lush ecosystem, these often docile creatures may have wreaked havoc.
The corn snake, another huge, non-venomous snake, has been reported to grow to a staggering 6 feet in length. It clings to the typical snake diet of birds, their eggs, and small animals despite its relatively enormous size and does not pose a threat to people. That wouldn’t be an issue in certain states, but in Hawaii it would be a hazardous invading predator.
Since there has only ever been one documented sighting, in 2019, corn snakes are rarely spotted in Hawaii. Its origins are completely unknown, and it was discovered in someone’s garden. The HDOA was notified right away, and since then there have been no sightings. But it’s worrying that it just appeared out of nowhere.
It is quite improbable that another exists in the wild because they are nocturnal creatures that only awake at night. There is no need to fear for your safety if you see their orange bodies and the red markings they sport, but if you do, report it to the appropriate authorities.
One of the list’s more non-lethal reptiles is the gopher snake. The local eco-system, though, may suffer if it is allowed to go out of control. 2014 saw the discovery of a huge brown snake with sand-colored squares down its back on Hawaii’s Big Island.
The snake was destroyed immediately after it was discovered by employees in Keaau crawling from a big cargo container.
Both at a Honolulu shipyard in 2007 and near an airport in 2012, a similar reported occurrence occurred. Are gopher snakes more prevalent in Hawaii? It’s possible given that the gopher is a species of snake that is indigenous to the west coast of America.
This specific snake, so named because it preys on gophers as well as other small animals, only consumes every 10 to 14 days, making it possibly one of the least dangerous snakes to have on the Hawaiian islands. But eventually, their procreation could destroy the nearby animals!
Southern black racer
Despite the severe penalties for keeping snakes as pets and all of the local government’s measures intended to ensure that there are no snakes in Hawaii, occasionally one may manage to evade capture.
In 2019, a man from Florida who had flown in for a vacation gave a southern black racer a free trip to Hawaii inside his backpack. Florida is home to several southern black racers, which are constrictor snakes like the boas before them even though they are not poisonous.
The southern black racer, known for moving quickly (thus the name), consumes whatever it can catch and kill, and it would undoubtedly have a field day in Hawaii’s diverse natural environment. Although there are serious consequences for bringing snakes into Hawaii illegally, there are none for unintentionally bringing them in.
Fortunately, the visitor who mistakenly transported the southern black racer to Hawaii was aware of the regulations governing snakes and immediately called authorities when something was noticed crawling out of his backpack.
Whether you like snakes or not, if you’re relocating to the islands or taking a trip there, you’ll want to know if there are any in Hawaii. While the answer is that there are snakes in Hawaii, they are not a cause for concern.
One is a harmless worm-like species that is thought to be reasonably native, whereas the other lives in deep seas. Enjoy the islands’ tropical variety, which doesn’t particularly include snakes, and have fun.