There is an urban legend that there are no snakes in Hawaii. This is true. If you don’t count the two that are here. Now if you are thinking of watching your step more carefully whilst walking down a rainforest or lava rock trail, I will give some advice: watch your step carefully whilst walking down a rainforest or lava rock trail, but, you don’t have to watch for snakes. I will go out on a very sturdy limb here and state directly that you will NEVER come across a snake while hiking. One reason for this is that the only snake of any size found naturally around Hawai’Ii spends its entire life in the sea. Even so, the Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (Pelamis platurus), is so rare that even scientists looking for them and people who make their living on the sea have never seen one. So much for a close encounter there! The second snake that is naturalized here is the diminutive Brahminy Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus). Thought to have been accidentally introduced from the Phillipines in the 1930’s, this snake lives underground, in logs, or under leaves where it feasts on termites and ant larvae. You would be excused if you mistook this snake for an earthworm as that is about the size they get! It is one of the smallest snakes in the world. Though ‘blind’ is a part of their name they are able to see- little more than dark/light- but their eyes are very small and covered with a tough scale to protect them.
Here’s one more interesting fact, all Brahminy Blind Snakes are female! They reproduce by a process called parthenogenesis. They produce unfertilized eggs that when laid will produce only females.
So, if you are a person who suffers from “ophidiophobia” (fear of snakes) come to Hawai’i, and hike the trails with us and without fear. You are welcome! Ahui hou!!
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