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Are there any snakes in Hawaii?
Question Date: 2016-05-05
Answer 1:

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,

Answer 2:

I don't believe there are any native snakes in Hawaii, but there certainly are invasive snakes.

Answer 3:

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" policy.

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