Florida Snake Hitchhikes to Maui in Backpack

PUKALANI, MAUI (Ben Caxton) — A small juvenile snake was captured after it was seen slithering out of a newly arrived visitor`s backpack Monday night at a Maui vacation rental in Pukalani. The owner of the rental informed the visitor and others staying in the rental that snakes are illegal in Hawaii and they reported it to officials on the island. Maui Police responded and were able to “detain” the snake which was then delivered to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture early Tuesday morning for safekeeping before transport to Honolulu. The brown-colored snake was determined to be a non-venomous southern black racer and appears to be a newborn measuring about a foot long and 1/4 inch in diameter. They are mainly found in Florida and the eastern half of the U.S. and may grow up to six feet in length. Their diet consists of mainly frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, birds and their eggs. Quarantine inspectors interviewed the visitor and the property owner Tuesday morning and it appears the snake was a stowaway and not purposely transported to Hawaii. The visitor, a 20-year-old male from Virginia, had just arrived Monday night from Florida and had put down his backpack on the floor in the rental when the snake slithered out. Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to Hawaii’s environment.

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