Is it true that there are snakes in Hawaii? One of the most often asked questions while arranging a trip to this island paradise. Yes, there are snakes in Hawaii, but they are nothing to be concerned about. They will not be found in your hotel room’s closet or on the beach where your children are playing.
Is it true that there are snakes in Hawaii? The lovely Crouching Lion trek
The lovely Crouching Lion trekThe Island Blind snake and the Yellow-bellied sea snake are the only two snakes that are quite widespread in Hawaii, both elusive and imported.
There are no venomous spiders, crocodiles, or tigers. Unless you’re at a zoo. So, hop on that plane and have the adventure of a lifetime. Hawaii is a tropical paradise.
Why are there no longer any snakes in Hawaii?
Not that you’d want snakes in any paradise, but it’s unusual that there are no native snakes in a tropical environment that supports a vast diversity of plant and animal life. Why?
There is a legitimate explanation for this, and it is why there are no native snakes in Hawaii. The Hawaiian archipelago is located over 2,000 miles from the US mainland in the Pacific Ocean. The volcanic activity of underwater volcanoes formed all 137 Hawaiian Islands millions of years ago.The islands were gradually filled by life as they rose from the ocean, including plant seeds, birds, and animals. They all had to fly or swim to the islands, or they were carried by the wind like seeds. Few of them survived.
According to scientists at the University of California, an invertebrate “successfully colonised Hawaii once every 70,000 years, a plant once every 100,000 years, and a bird once every million years.” Even for birds that can fly long distances, introducing new species to an isolated island like Hawaii is a complex and hit-or-miss task.This is obviously far more difficult for land species, such as land snakes, therefore they arrived in a different method – they were brought by people. Some arrived by chance, hitchhiking in the cargo of aircraft or boats, while others arrived on purpose, as pets or as part of someone’s snake collection.
Only two snakes survived and expanded across the islands, becoming extremely abundant and nearly native: the Brahminy Blind Snake and the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake.
Brahminy Blind Snake- Snakes in Hawaii
The Brahminy Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus) is a little black snake native to Asia and Africa that is now found worldwide. It is one of the world’s smallest snakes, growing no more than 20 cm (6 inches).
Brahminy snakes resemble earthworms, with black or dark brown bodies and tails that are nearly identical. They are nearly blind, unable to see fixed images but highly sensitive to light.
These snakes eat termites and ants and reside in dark, moist areas beneath logs, humus, and leaves. Because they are most usually encountered in gardens, they are also known as Flowerpot Snakes. Brahminy snakes are completely non-venomous. Nothing eats them since they have no natural predators.
It’s worth noting that there are no male Brahminy blind snakes. All of them are female! They lay eggs that do not require fertilization to hatch. It is thought that the Brahminy blind snake was transported to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1930s with potting soil from the Philippines.
Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake – Snakes in Hawaii
The yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platurus) is a poisonous snake found in tropical waters around the world, with the exception of the Atlantic Ocean. They are common in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, including Hawaii.
Is it possible to find sea snakes in Hawaii? As it tries to crawl back to the ocean, a venomous yellow bellied sea snake washed up on the beach makes tracks in the wet sand. As it tries to crawl back to the ocean, a venomous yellow bellied sea snake washed up on the beach makes tracks in the wet sand. The snakes are occasionally carried into temperate seas by currents, but they do not mate or breed there.
The upper part of the snake is black or bluish-brown, while the lower half is yellowish. The paddle-shaped yellow tail has a dark bar or dots. It is relatively thin, with a total length of roughly three feet (one meter).The Yellow-bellied Sea Snake is found in the broad ocean, far from beaches and reefs.
There are no predators of yellow bellied sea snakes. Their bright hue deters predators, but it’s also plausible that their high toxicity makes them unappealing to predators. Only if an injured or sick animal drifts with the current to shallow water or the coast are humans likely to encounter a Yellow-bellied Sea Snake. When cornered, they will bite, and their very poisonous venom can cause paralysis and death if not treated swiftly.
Because of its vibrant colours, the snake is easily identified. Although it is exceedingly uncommon, if you encounter anything on the beach or in the sea, notify the authorities immediately. Even if it appears to be dead, do not touch it. They are quite fast.If you plan on trekking in Hawaii, you won’t have to worry about anything, but it’s always a good idea to be cautious.
What additional species of snakes can be found in Hawaii?
The subject of whether or not there are snakes in Hawaii becomes more problematic when we include snakes that arrive on the islands as a result of human ignorance or by accident. Given how destructive it can be for the islands’ nature, it is reasonable to call it foolish. But we’ll talk about that afterwards.
Other snakes are occasionally observed on the Hawaiian Islands. Non-native animals are always a source of concern because they have no natural predators in Hawaii and can spread quickly.Snakes can hitchhike to Hawaii on flights or ships in our highly mobile society. It’s also likely that some snakes kept as pets escape or are reintroduced into the wild.
The ball python – Snakes in Hawaii
The ball python (Python regius), a beautiful, colourful, and non-venomous snake, is popular as a pet in the continental United States. When they are born, they are little and adorable. But, like all adorable newborns, they grow. Adult ball pythons measuring six feet in length are not uncommon.They eat small mammals and birds. They are indigenous to Africa and reside on grasslands. Although keeping ball pythons is officially prohibited in Hawaii, people take risks and smuggle these magnificent animals for their collections, despite the fact that they are aware that the snakes could threaten the island ecology if they escape.
And it happens: they flee or their owners release them because they no longer desire them or for other reasons. They do it with puppies, so why not snakes? Ball pythons are occasionally seen roaming the Hawaiian Islands. A four-foot-long ball python was caught by a hunter on Oahu Island in 2020. He brought it to the attention of the local humane society.
Because ball pythons are not venomous, they pose no threat to people. However, because they are not endemic to Hawaii, there are no recognised predators. They can consume all the birds and tiny critters until there are none left, destroying the island’s ecological equilibrium.Because snakes are not part of their environment, birds are unaware that they are deadly to them. This is especially deadly with snakes that climb trees, such as ball pythons. So, by the time birds realise what’s creeping up the tree is a predator, it’s too late.
Every animal is essential to the fabric of life. The loss of any of these can bring the entire system to a halt. Too many insects result from the loss of birds to snakes. Because everything eats something else, the effects cascade down the food chain.
The Boa Constrictor – Snakes in Hawaii
Boa constrictors are maintained as pets in the United States and many other nations. Boas come in four different colour and pattern subspecies. All are native to tropical South America but can now be found worldwide.
Boas are incredibly gorgeous, with very distinct big patterns that vary between subspecies. They can grow to enormous sizes, are not venomous, and kill by squeezing their prey before swallowing it. This snake enjoys eating small creatures such as birds and even tiny home pets.Two boas were spotted on a farm in Hawaii in 2011. One of them was nine feet long. A three-foot-long boa was spotted on a Honolulu street in 2013. A five-foot-long boa was slain on the Honolulu Pali Highway the same year. A seven-foot boa was confiscated by the Department of Agriculture in Nuuanu a few years later, in 2015.
A lucrative black market in exotic pets contributes to the problem. As long as people desire to keep enormous snakes as pets, someone will supply them, thus new boas and other snakes are transported to Hawaii. The fact that they are so hazardous to the ecosystem of the islands does not stop people from keeping them and releasing them into the wild, regardless of the environmental ramifications.
The Garter Snake – Snakes in Hawaii
The garter snake is a small to medium-sized snake from the genus Thamnophis in the Colubridae family. North and Central America are home to the snakes. The appearance of each subspecies varies widely, although they all have stripes around the body and occasionally markings.
Garter snakes first arrived in Hawaii with a consignment of Christmas trees. A shipment of Christmas trees from an Oregon manufacturer arrived in Hawaii in 2004 with a hitchhiker – a 13-inch garter snake. Fortunately, the hitchhiker was apprehended before it could flee into the wilderness. It happened again in 2020, but this time the hitchhiker perished in the car.Garter snakes eat small animals such as fish, bugs, and amphibians. They have no known predators in Hawaii, and if they managed to establish themselves in the lush environment, these generally innocuous animals may have wreaked havoc.
Tree Snake, Brown – Snakes in Hawaii
The brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) is a nocturnal snake with a cream or yellow underside and a yellow to dark brown back. It has a broader head than a body and cat-like eyes with vertical pupils.This snake prefers to reside in trees, but it can also be found on the ground. It can grow to be 3 m (9 feet) long, however it is more typically 1-2 m (3-6 feet) long.
They, like other snakes, feed voraciously on small mammals and birds. Humans are poisoned by their bite.The South Pacific, Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and Northern Australia are home to the brown tree snake. It arrived in the United States by mistake in 1940, when it was transported to Guam in plane cargo.
This incident demonstrates how dangerous these snakes are in an isolated setting with no natural predators.
What occurred in Guam?
A notice to all ecosystems when a new predator enters an area with no natural predators. Guam has lost a significant number of its native animal species to extinction.The brown tree snake is thought to have arrived on Guam in the 1950s aboard cargo ships from New Guinea, where it is native.Brown tree snakes multiplied during the next several decades and are now a top predator, residing at the top of the food chain.
Because it is not controlled by predators, rivals, or illnesses in its natural area, the Brown tree snake can have a disastrous effect on the confined ecosystems of islands.
Birds, reptiles and bird eggs, lizards, small mammals such as mice, rats, and even small domestic pets are all prey for brown tree snakes. These snakes are currently responsible for the extinction of 9 of Guam’s 13 forest bird species and three lizard species.Other bird species have seen significant population declines. Terns, shearwaters, and noddys are no longer stopping to nest on the island.
The issues just become worse from there. After annihilating their favourite prey, the snakes began preying on lizards and skinks. Because these creatures reproduce more quickly, they supply adequate feed for the brown tree snakes, allowing them to maintain their abnormally high population.
After the snakes destroyed the insect-eating birds and lizards, the quantity of insects in Guam increased dramatically, impacting crop productivity.There’s more: Brown tree snakes climb power wires and get into electrical boxes and transformers, resulting in regular power outages. Between 1978 and 1997, snakes caused over 1600 power disruptions on Guam.Over a seven-year period, the costs to the Guam economy exceed $4.5 million per year, not including transformer and electrical substation damage.
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Is it possible to find Brown Tree snakes in Hawaii?
Very few, owing to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s concerted efforts to keep them out of the islands and kill them when they are discovered. The only brown tree snakes found in Hawaii are ones brought in to train dogs to hunt them down.So far as the government is aware. These snakes are cunning and versatile, on the one hand. Humans, on the other hand, are always willing to do foolish things like smuggle them for their snake collections.
Guam’s story is horrific enough to serve as a warning to other nearby ecosystems, such as Hawaii. The alternative is inconceivable. According to the USDA National Wildlife Research Center, introducing the Brown Tree snake to Hawaii would cost $1.7 billion per year.In the meanwhile, possessing a snake, any snake, is prohibited in Hawaii, and if caught, a person faces a $200,000 fine or three years in prison.
Is it possible to find deadly snakes in Hawaii?
As previously stated, one of the two snakes that are now recognized native to Hawaii, the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, is venomous to humans. However, your chances of sighting this sea snake, which lives in broad waters and only comes to shallow water or land when sick, are slim. So, traffic is probably far more dangerous than this venomous animal.
Whether you like snakes or not, if you are considering a trip or moving to the islands, you will want to know if there are snakes in Hawaii. While the answer is yes, there are snakes in Hawaii, they are not a cause for concern.
One is a harmless worm-like animal that lives in deep seas, and the other is a common and reasonably native critter. So, have fun, and appreciate the islands’ tropical richness, of which snakes are not a part.