Snake found in car

A snake was found today in a car imported from Japan. It was a used car, a Nissan Leaf. All used cars from Japan are checked thoroughly before they leave Japan. This car had a biosecurity sticker on it to show it had been checked. The car was in a used-car dealer’s yard, in Auckland’s North Shore. A customer saw the head of the snake looking out from the bonnet of the car.

The dealer contacted people from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) who arrived with a special stick for catching snakes. It took them about 2 hours to find the snake which was somewhere around the engine. It was quite a small snake – about 40cm. MPI killed the snake.

NZ imports about 125,000 used cars each year, mostly from Japan. Most of these cars are late models, are in good condition and have a low mileage. They cost about $3,000 to ship to NZ and sell for between $5,000 and $6,000.

The average age of NZ cars is 14 years. NZ has no snakes and no dangerous animals.

Listen to Airport Biosecurity and follow the links to hear more about Biosecurity in NZ.


• biosecurity – airport and harbour checks to protect our environment from overseas animals and diseases
• used-car dealer – sells second-hand cars
• bonnet of a car (NZ English, hood is American English) – the engine is inside the bonnet
• Primary Industries – agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forests
• low mileage – not many kilometres

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