Gopher Snake Killed on Molokai

( – Media outlets took a well-deserved time out from covering the chaotic race for second place among candidates running against former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Several news organizations recently reported about the untimely demise of a stowaway snake on the Hawaiian island of Molokai (aka Moloka’i).

On January 8, Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture (HDOA) issued a press release detailing the incident. The statement advised that workers discovered the harmless snake while delivering a shipping container at a local hardware store in Kaunankakai.

Workers contacted the Maui County Police Department for assistance shortly after 8 a.m. The notice confirmed that responding officers shot and killed the snake using a pellet gun. The stowaway was later identified as a non-poisonous gopher snake.

The shipping container originated in California. Pacific gopher snakes (Pituophis catenifer) can grow as large as seven feet long, but this one was only about 20 inches.

Hawaiian officials consider all snake varieties invasive since they reportedly threaten the island state’s “unique ecosystem” by competing with native animal species for habitat and food. As a result, officials from the Molokai Invasive Species Committee responded to the call.

Likewise, inspectors from the Maui Plant Quarantine Branch of the HDOA conducted a “thorough search” of the pallets where workers discovered the snake. Officials from both agencies also searched the three nearby hardware stores, the warehouse where the shipping container had been stored, and the surrounding area. Fortunately, they didn’t find any evidence of other snakes.

As a side note, Hawaii News Now posted an image of a snake and a notice discussing the incident on its Instagram page. Several users expressed outrage at the decision to kill the snake.

For example, one user questioned the logic of killing a non-venomous snake that could have been sent to a local zoo “or back to California.” Others blamed workers in the Golden State for the incident.

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