Nine snakes sneak past New Zealand's border in three years

Nine snakes have been intercepted in the past three years after they managed to cross the border into New Zealand.

The majority of the snakes that were brought in weren't venomous and were found in imported goods such as building materials, furniture, landscape suppliers and vehicles.

Out of the nine snakes, seven were dead when they were caught.

"All reported sightings or interceptions are thoroughly investigated to determine the pathway of arrival and to mitigate any potential biosecurity risk," Biosecurity New Zealand's manager of surveillance and incursion Wendy McDonald said.

"These investigations are also valuable to identify if we need to make any changes to biosecurity requirements or import pathways requirements."

McDonald said one of the two live snakes that was concealed in an imported pipe at an Auckland construction site was well-covered by media.

Two snakeskin fragments were also found in Aotearoa over the past three years.

"Skin fragments can include a piece of sloughed skin left behind after moulting. This can mean the snake may have deposited the skin fragments," McDonald said.

The snakes could've disposed of the fragments inside either a shipping container or imported goods before departing an overseas port.

McDonald said Biosecurity NZ has a "multi-layered biosecurity system" that has strict import requirements and checks at the border and surveillance.

"It is also why we have trained personnel to handle suspected snake detections safely and effectively."

McDonald added the public alerting Biosecurity NZ was also an important part of the biosecurity system as it allowed them to act quickly to eliminate any biosecurity threats.