Authorities Searching for Brown Tree Snake in Kaneohe

Domingo Cravalho
Domingo Cravalho
Todd Russell
Todd Russell
Master Sgt. David Catimon
Master Sgt. David Catimon

By Stephen Florino

KANEOHE (KHNL) -- The hunt is on for a snake at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe. It's believed to be a brown tree snake, spotted near the officers club on Wednesday morning.

Most snakes come to Hawaii through the airport, either through cargo or in people's luggage. It's not confirmed whether the Kaneohe animal is a snake. But officials are treating the situation as such, just in case.

Traps are set to try and catch an unwanted visitor:  a brown tree snake. On Wednesday morning, a woman jogging in the area saw something slither into the tall grass.

"They're just going on worse case scenario," said Todd Russell, a biological science technician at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. "Because you're not gonna go on an earthworm scenario if it's potentially a brown tree snake."

The woman didn't see the head, but saw the tail. It was greensih brown, and about two feet long. Officials say other native animals could be mistaken for snakes, but in this case, they don't think so.

"Based upon the information that they did get from her, as far as how the animal was slithering into the brush, it was more snake-like in nature," said Domingo Cravalho, inspection chief at the state Department of Agriculture.

"We're setting out a few traps with live mice in them," said Russell. "The problem is there, there is a lot of prey base right now, so searching is the primary method right now."

So far, those searches have come up with nothing, leaving questions like is it really a snake, and how did it get here?

"With the inspections that the state ag has, their requirements and our requirements, it's not likely that it came off an aircraft," said Master Sgt. David Catimon.

"The Marine Corps definitely takes this seriously, because of the dramatic impacts it would have on Hawaii," said Russell.

Snakes are illegal in Hawaii, but do show up maybe 2-3 times a year, both on purpose and by accident.

If you see the snake on the base, or anywhere else, you should call authorities immediately.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii Police

257-2103 ext. 1

State of Hawaii's Pest Hotline

643-PEST (7378)