There haven’t been any snakes there in the
past. The Hawaiian Islands were formed from
volcanoes rising from the bottom of the sea. They
started off as bare rock. Over millions of years,
species colonized the islands.
It’s over 2,000 miles from the US coast to the
Hawaiian Islands, but birds probably rested on the
bare rock of the early islands and drank the fresh
water caught from rain. They may have dropped
seeds or spores from their feathers or in their
feces (poop). Other seeds may have blown in on the
wind or floated in on the water. It would not have
been an easy place for a plant to get started
since there was no soil except what blew in on the
wind. Volcanic ash can make soil better for some
plants, but pure ash is not soil. Soil has dead
material mixed into it.
Some plants have evolved to colonize islands. For
example, coconut palms have huge seeds with tough
coverings. When they wash up on a beach, they can
sprout using all the food stored inside to get a
good start in life. The more plants that live,
drop leaves, and die on an island, the more the
soil builds up, making it better for more plants.
Once there are plants, some animals can
survive. Insects might arrive on birds and
bats, get blown in on the wind, or float in on
things like logs. No snakes made it.
People discovered the Hawaiian Islands about
1,000 years ago. They must have been very smart
and brave to survive a long paddle in open canoes.
They brought some of their animals with them, like
dogs, chickens, and pigs. They brought rats and
geckos too, but they probably weren’t trying to.
European ships arrived hundreds of years later,
bringing more species, such as cats, goats, and
other rats. Still, there were no snakes.
Unfortunately, some people now bring snakes
to Hawaii illegally. This worries many people
because the species that evolved on the islands
have no real defenses against snakes.
How do you think the predators changed the
islands when they arrived?
If you are interested in ideas like this, you
may want to study ecology.
Thanks for asking,
There are snakes in Hawaii. Snakes are not
native to Hawaii, and there are alerts for
the Hawaii ecosystem if they were introduced.
Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii,
which means they could threaten other wildlife
populations if they were ever allowed into the
ecosystem. Unfortunately, some people kept snakes
as pets and released snakes after they got bored
of them. In fact, there were a couple of snakes
captured in July 2011, a 9-foot boa constrictor
and 7-foot albino Burmese python. Nowadays,
Hawaii is very strict with its "no snakes"
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