SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – An anaconda is a South American variety of snake. How did this creature end up in Lake Hopatcong?
Though it is uncertain how the creature ended up in Lake Hopatcong, a lake that touches on both Sussex and Morris Counties, according to what Fox News reported about reptile expert Gerald Andrejcak, he was instructed to inform the public that the snake, which continues to be spotted in the lake but has not been caught yet, was a boa constrictor, to avoid panicking the public. However, Andrejcak told the news outlet NJ.com because of the panic that has since developed about the snake, he has gone on record to state he believes the snake is a Green Anaconda.
Based on the size of the snake’s head, which Andrejcak, who works for the firm Common Sense for Animals and is an expert on large snakes and saw it last Thursday while combing the lake for it, said the body is likely approximately 16 feet long. Andrejcak told NJ.com the snake’s head was about the size of his hand.
According to the Vancouver Aquarium website, Green Anacondas, which are a non-venomous snake, stay in swamps or hang from trees to seek out prey. They are not considered dangerous to humans, but are to animals such as deer, birds, fish and turtles. However, the Vancouver Aquarium notes that in their natural habitat the Green Anaconda is not often surrounded by humans and are “generalists and will take on any prey they can subdue and swallow.”
They are a constrictor snake that surrounds its prey before eating it, by breaking its spine or neck, or causing death by limiting circulation.
Green Anacondas are known as the “water boa,” because of its aquatic skills, and is the largest variety of snake in the world.
Click on video below for a view of the Green Anaconda in action, courtesy of National Geographic.
Green Anacondas are available online for sale on sites like BackwaterReptiles.com, a site with physical locations in Texas, California, and Florida. These snakes, according to that site, can reach about 200 pounds, and are shipped as hatchlings.
Another website with green anaconda babies for sale, Reptiles-N-Critters.com, notes that Green Anacondas should only be handled by “experienced herp keepers who can understand large snakes should attempt to keep them.”
The site notes that the breed is one of the most intelligent snakes, and because they are often caught in South America using poor methods, “many new specimens will be moody.”
Those in the Lake Hopatcong area should leave the snake catching to the experts, and not approach this snake. The site Reptiles-N-Critters.com says Green Anacondas will become defensive if startled while resting. This type of snake will also lunge at a person’s hand if hungry.
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