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Fun Fact
22 July 2021

Snakes sometimes sneak in ……

It was in the news recently that Rangiora New World workers had spotted a dead snake while unpacking a box of bananas from Ecuador.

A snake specialist identified the 20-centimetre snake as a juvenile Leptodeira ornata, also known as an ornate cat-eyed snake, that's found in South America. It isn’t known to be dangerous to humans.

Over the past 10 years there have been 59 snakes found in New Zealand, 29 of those at the border, and only seven of them were still alive. Of the 30 others that made it into the country, just five were alive. These snakes normally aren't venomous and mostly arrive dead due to the treatment of imported cargo.

The threat of snakes establishing in New Zealand is taken very seriously. This is why we have a multi-layered biosecurity system that involves strict import requirements, checks at the border and surveillance. It is also why Biosecurity New Zealand has trained personnel to handle detections safely and effectively.

Yet another reminder to be sure you have the Biosecurity New Zealand hotline number handy and pre-programmed into your phone. If you’re ever surprised by a snake (gulp!) – or any other unusual pest or disease – be sure to report it immediately to 0800 80 99 66. 

Image: Supplied by Biosecurity New Zealand.  

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