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Friday, February 21, 2003



Beagle snake-sniffing
at Maui golf course



By Gary T. Kubota
gkubota@starbulletin.com

LAHAINA >> State workers were expected to resume their search this evening for a snake at a golf course in West Maui.

Officials brought a snake-sniffing beagle from Honolulu to the Valley Isle yesterday to look for the snake whose skin was left in a golf cart garage near Reilly's Steak & Seafood at the North Course of the Kaanapali resort.

"The dog indicated there was a snake in the garage," state wildlife biologist Fern Duvall said.

He said no one has seen the snake, but a worker reported finding a snakeskin on the back of a golf cart in the garage Tuesday morning.

He said parts of the skin, which appears to have been shed recently, were taken to Honolulu for analysis by state agricultural officials and possibly snake experts at the Bishop Museum.

Duvall said the skin indicates the snake was 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 3 to 4 feet or more in length. He does not know what kind of snake it is or if it is poisonous, but it does not appear to be a python or brown tree snake.

About a dozen state conservation officials and workers with the Maui Invasive Species Committee searched the garage and nearby areas for a few hours Tuesday night. The search is taking place at night because most snakes are nocturnal creatures.

Committee spokeswoman Mele Fong said the public should notify the state if they see the snake. She said Hawaii has no native snakes, and the presence of them on Maui could devastate the native environment.

The state pest hot-line number is 984-2300, ext. 67378, and the number for the committee is 579-2115.



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