Did officials cover up an anaconda on the loose in NJ? (UPDATE: No evidence of snake)

It looks like they did. Not helpful.

But see update below.

Reptile Expert: Snake On Loose In NJ Actually An Anaconda « CBS New York.

A reptile specialist leading the search for a snake on the loose in Lake Hopatcong now says it is a green anaconda, not a boa constrictor, as officials had maintained.

Gerald Andrejcak told NJ.com that he was told by a local animal control officer to keep quiet about the true species to avoid raising public panic.

Andrejcak said in the past few weeks of searching, he saw the snake once, estimating it to be up to 16 feet long with a head the size of a human.

It’s not concrete that the snake actually exists. But there have been reports of dozens of sightings. Animal Control is serious about the animal. It’s also unclear how Andrejcak came to the conclusion it’s an anaconda. Even experts can be mistaken.

If such a large snake is on the loose, it can be a hazard especially to pets.

Hopatcong Animal Control Officer Dale Sloat confirmed that he asked Andrejcak to say the snake was a boa constrictor.

“I just asked him to say it was a boa,” Sloat said. “It wasn’t a lie. Anacondas are boas.”

Sloat said he made this request to Andrejcak because he didn’t want people to have visions of “an alligator-eating snake” in the lake, which he said has been seen in the on national news.

Quelling “mass panic” is a nobel goal but backfires in terms of trust. Officials should be clear about the situation, not try to minimize it.

The water here is colder than the snake’s usual habitat of South America. The snake could be an escapee (this is rather common for snakes) or was released deliberately when it became too large. Officials warn people not to try to catch it themselves.

For more, see here. Expert says Lake Hopatcong snake is an anaconda – New Jersey Herald.

Green anaconda - suspected to be the type on the loose in New Jersey

Green anaconda – suspected to be the type on the loose in New Jersey

UPDATE (30-Jul-2014) They looked and they did not find. I suspect there was nothing there to begin with.

New Jersey snake hunt ends after officials find no evidence | Environment | theguardian.com.

State wildlife experts found no scientific or biological evidence that an exotic snake is in the area, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese said. “There were no signs of droppings or skin,” he said.

Andrejcak repeated his claim that he knows what he saw. But even experts can be wrong. It’s a safe bet people will continue to “see” the snake whether it’s really there or not.

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  7 comments for “Did officials cover up an anaconda on the loose in NJ? (UPDATE: No evidence of snake)

  1. Angela
    July 20, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    ““I just asked him to say it was a boa,” Sloat said. “It wasn’t a lie. Anacondas are boas.” Did I really just read that? It doesn’t stop panic to downplay a situation. It just creates paranoia on top of the fear once the deception is uncovered. Hope this snake is found sooner rather than later. I agree with the suggestion that it could have been a pet that was released–another rant for another day.

  2. Moo
    July 20, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    “with a head the size of a human.”

    That’s a big snake!

    • Pangs
      July 20, 2014 at 7:36 AM

      It must be the snake they made that documentary about with Jennifer Lopez.

  3. Tommy
    July 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    I think this is Andrejcak trying to become famous.. The waters are cold for a south america snake.. He is the only one that seen it??? Now every movement in the water some will mistaken for a Snake..lol Enjoy your summer.

  4. Adam
    July 21, 2014 at 5:44 AM

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…

  5. vinnygi@mac.com
    July 21, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Why is it worse if it’s an Anaconda instead of a Boa Constrictor? Can’t they both squeeze things to death?

  6. July 25, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    They’re gonna need a bigger boat.

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