Sunday, January 7, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 7, 2001

Kaua'i calls off rat-snake search

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

LIHUE, Kauai — Wildlife authorities have found no trace of a snake in the Poipu area following the discovery Dec. 18 of a snake skin on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Kauai Hotel.

"We put out traps and then got the word out. We spent an evening crawling around with flashlights," said Ed Petteys, district forester with the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

The skin, which had been shed normally, appeared to be that of a 3 1/2- to 4-foot black rat snake, said state wildlife biologist Tom Telfer. It was impossible to determine the exact species.

Trapping on the hotel grounds and in the area turned up no unusual wildlife.

"We didn’t catch any snakes, but we caught a lot of rats and mice" in the traps, Telfer said.

Officials are now uncertain whether a snake was actually present, or whether the skin parts might have been transported to the island somehow.

Petteys said there were reports that parts of a skin had been found in a hallway on an upper floor of the hotel, above where the reported larger piece was found on the hotel grounds.

"It hasn’t made a whole lot of sense to have the skin in both locations," he said.

The trapping effort has been halted, Telfer said, until there is more information.

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