HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fearing for children's safety another person has turned-in an illegal snake. The animal had been living in Whitmore Village and the owner reluctantly turned it over in Waialua this afternoon.
The ball python measured out to three and a half feet. It's a female and is about three years old. It's the 13th illegal reptile confiscated within the past month.
The ball python is a common pet on the mainland and would cost less than a $100 there.
CrimeStoppers has had a big push for people to report the reptiles. In some cases it's been spouses turning in their ex's and collecting the reward.
"We don't want to wait until relationships change we want people to understand the dangers of snakes out there that it can harm a child, it can strangle a person," said Sgt. Kim Buffett, Honolulu CrimeStoppers. "We got this tip in and basically said I'm afraid this person has children and I'm afraid for the children so I want to tell you about this snake."
Authorities say the animals are illegally smuggled in and budget cuts have made it tougher to catch people. However 10 new inspectors are supposed to be hired in the coming weeks which the Department of Agriculture says should make things safer.
"It's pretty surprising having this many snakes and lizards turned in in such a short period of time but due to some of the shortage in staff that we had it cut back on some of our inspection time," said Keevin Minami, Land Vertebrate Specialist, Plant Quarantine Branch, Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Officers say at first the owner didn't want to turn it over but after learning the fine for having these type animals could be up to $200,000 and possible jail time he gave it up.
The other dozen animals seized recently are still all here on Oahu. They plan to be flown to the mainland although the state is trying to work out a deal with an airline.
If you have a tip call the Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378).