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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, February 21, 2003

Search is still on for Maui snake

By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui County Bureau

KA'ANAPALI, Maui — Wildlife officials said yesterday that they are planning additional searches for a snake apparently on the loose here.

On Tuesday, a worker at a golf course found a piece of what is believed to be freshly shed snake skin on a golf cart, prompting a search by personnel from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Maui Invasive Species Committee.

The skin was not whole, so officials were unable to identify the snake. The snake it came from was estimated to be 3 inches in diameter and 3 to 6 feet in length.

Eleven field crew members searched the garage where the carts are housed and the immediate surroundings for two hours that evening, but no snake or snake skin was found.

Yesterday, the state Department of Agriculture dispatched a specialized search dog and its handler. State wildlife biologist Fern Duvall said the dog picked up the scent of the snake, but the animal was no longer in the garage.

Additional searches are being planned, officials said.

Snakes are not native to Hawai'i, and the government has spent a great deal of money to prevent them from becoming established here.

Officials said the snake likely got to Ka'anapali as either as an escaped pet or in a golf bag.

Anyone who sees a snake on Maui should call the state Department of Agriculture at 984-2400, ext. 67378, or the Maui Invasive Species Committee at 579-2115.