A family staying at a Kona vacation condo unit found a 16-inch-long snake on Tuesday, June 25 and turned it over to security on the property, according to state agriculture officials.
The black, orange and yellow-colored snake was identified as a garter snake. It is possible that the snake hitchhiked on the luggage of the family, which had just arrived that evening.
The snake was safeguarded at the Hilo Plant Quarantine Office and transported to Honolulu on Tuesday, July 2. It will be kept for educational purposes until it can be shipped out of the state.
Garter snakes are native to North America and Central America. Their diet consists of small prey, such as lizards, worms, insects and amphibians. Their bite may release a mild neurotoxin, which is not lethal to humans.
Snakes are illegal in Hawaii. Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the State's amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, Honolulu Zoo or any Humane Society -- no questions asked and no fines assessed. Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).