CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Land vertebrate specialist Kevin Minami held a boa constrictor yesterday during a press conference at the state Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch. The snake was found Tuesday in a Hawaii Kai home.
Snake found in Hawaii Kai home
The boa constrictor was coiled in a corner behind a bag of rice
When his mother woke him Monday morning to tell him there was a snake in the house, Palen Ho said he did not believe her, until he saw the reptile for himself.
In a corner behind a rice bag, between the kitchen and the laundry room, was a 4-foot-long boa constrictor.
"It stayed behind the rice bag, coiled up. You couldn't tell how big it was," Ho said.
He said his mom initially thought it was a frog after seeing just its head.
As state Department of Agriculture officials removed the snake, Ho said he was surprised to see how big it was.
He said his mother was cooking about 10 a.m. and discovered the snake when she went for some rice.
Her scream caught the attention of two construction workers who were doing renovations on the Poipu Drive home.
Ho dialed 911 and talked to an operator who referred him to the state agriculture officials at the airport.
After the officials retrieved the snake, they asked Ho if the family had any pets and whether they had any problem with mice.
"(The snake) was hungry. He was looking for food," state Department of Agriculture animal specialist Kevin Minami said.
When he took the reptile to the Honolulu Zoo to determine whether it was male or female, Minami said zoo officials noted the snake looked thin.
He said the snake will probably stay at the zoo, which does not have any snakes in its collection.
Minami said the snake is tame and was probably somebody's pet that got away. He said officials will go back to the neighborhood to try to find the owner.
Possessing a snake is illegal in Hawaii, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of between $5,000 and $20,000.
Boa constrictors are native to Central and South America and can grow up to 12 feet in length. Their normal diet includes mice and rats, but they can also prey on birds and their eggs, posing a threat to endangered native birds. Larger boas also pose a threat to small pets and children.