Anaconda Loose in New Jersey Lake

By: Mike Fossum - July 19, 2014

A green anaconda is loose in Lake Hopatcong in Jefferson Township, situated in northern New Jersey, and reptile expert Gerald Andrejcak revealed that state wildlife authorities told him to “keep his mouth shut” regarding the actual species of the snake.

The snake was initially described as a boa, which a green anaconda technically is, but state officials wanted to avoid causing a panic in the area. “I was sworn to keep my mouth shut by local officials to avoid causing a panic,” Andrejcak commented, adding, “Now that there’s a panic, I’m going on the record.”

Andrejack positively identified the snake on Thursday as a 16-foot-long green anaconda, after spotting it by the lake. The snake had vanished by the time animal care workers arrived to attempt to wrangle it.

The green anaconda, or Eunectes murinus, is native to South America, and has been confirmed to grow to more than 22 feet long, and can weigh over 215 pounds. Though, a $50,000 reward stands for anyone who can capture a green anaconda measuring 30 feet long, and historical records indicate that the snake, which lives in remote areas of rain forests, can grow to 40 feet long, and weigh over 550 pounds.

The green anaconda’s only known predator is man, and can take down large prey including deer and cattle.

As a side note, behold Jon Voight’s continuous mean-mugging from the 1997 J.Lo thriller Anaconda:

Andrejack, an employee of Common Sense for Animals, remarked that he is frustrated by the lack of response from wildlife officials, and hopes to find the snake before someone kills it.

Tony Colantonio, who lives by the lake, commented, “If someone can kill it and get out of here, that’s fine. I want proof that it’s gone.”

Here is a video Colantonio captured of the snake:

Colantonio added, “There’s kids swimming in the lake, there’s going to be people in the water this weekend, and my kids can’t go in their backyard. It’s a green anaconda, a predator, hunting all day every day. It’s not a python that lives 80 percent of its life on land and only needs to eat once a month. It’s one of the most aggressive snakes out there. It’s been two weeks and (the township and state) have done nothing. Everybody I call just blows me off.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Mike FossumMike is a writer and videographer based in Lexington, KY. Follow Mike on Twitter and Google+.

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  • Wolfyhound

    I suspect the “wildlife expert” probably ends up being the one that dropped the snake there. Great publicity for him when he’s the big hero catching it.

    • Don Tarr

      Truly cynical thought. I hope you’re wrong.

    • FEDUPS

      Really? And you know this how?

      • Wolfyhound

        Because it’s happened at three documented times in the past, once was for a “reality” show, the other two were wildlife “removal” experts who were busted since they’d bought the snakes in the weeks before. It would follow the pattern that the same guy manages to “happen” to be at the only lake that a loose anaconda is and “happens” to spot it and film it when wildlife photographers have issues getting decent footage of them AND it “happens” that the guy is a wildlife expert who gets paid to deal with wildlife. One of these circumstances might be coincidence or explained away but ALL of them, probably not.

        • FEDUPS

          Boy, would I hate to have you on a jury. For the time being, at least here in the U.S. you are considered “innocent until proven guilty” If you have the facts submit them. I do not condone anyone fraudulently representing the facts, but you need to put up or shut up. You are entitled to an opinion, not necessarily a judgement. Let’s see how this plays out. Then hang him.

          • Wolfyhound

            Since when is “I suspect” anything but a opinion? If I were on a JURY I would check the evidence(which I doubt we’d ever see on this site). This is a article written on a site that(like 99% of websites) skews the few facts towards what they want it to mean. I’m just as able to post my opinion as you are to post your bogus whine that no one should say anything you disagree with. Grow up. I presented facts that it has happened in the past in the same exact manner, and if those facts offend you then you’re simply wanting your opinion to be fact.

  • eyeforeye42

    I don’t think they winter well in NJ if I am not mistaken! Keep your pets and children in sight and get out your axe!

  • Kev8464

    People are acting like it’s going to come after them. Keep your dogs away from the water though.

  • Josh Rayborn

    Personally, my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun!

  • Laura Cottone

    It’s not just about the kids and the dogs. This is a predator and it will disrupt the natural ecology. They need to capture or kill this thing before it causes to much damage

    • Jerimiah

      Your a stone cold uninformed idiot probable tree hugger. Ill be out there this weekend trying to catch it before it slithers into a smelly damp whole

      • Laura Cottone

        Actually, my comment is far more informed than your’s. I have no idea why you would call me a tree hugger. I stated clearly that killing the snake is an option; a tree hugger would never suggest such a thing. Invasive species such as this one can and do disrupt the natural ecosystems. They compete for the food in the area, and a top predator such as this, will also kill off the natural predators in the area. We do not know if this snake was male or female, or if it has the ability to reproduce. Hopefully it is the only one and when it is removed that will be the end. Unlike what is happening in the everglades with the pythons. Being up north there is the possibility that if it isn’t caught it won’t survive the winter, but it could find a warm place to hide in the winter and then the problem would continue. Of course, it would be nicer to capture the snake and maybe give it to a zoo, but if that is not possible then destroying the animal before it irreparably damages the ecosystem in the area may be necessary.

        • Coral Cobra

          If it is 15-16 feet long, then it should be able to reproduce. With that said, this can’t and won’t breed in the wilds of New Jersey. If it were a female that was already pregnant, the young would not survive their first year.

          • Laura Cottone

            Nice to know; I am not a snake expert, but it can still do a lot of damage right now.

          • Roger

            Not really. It only needs to eat once a month or so, depending on the size of the meal And just a few months until freezing temperatures, which a tropical snake shouldn’t survive.
            The greatest real damage will be to those that are afraid of snakes if they see it.

  • Jay Sloth

    Two words…. SHOT GUN.

    (I know it’s one word) A few loads of large birdshot or small buckshot would make the snake go away. use some chickens as bait, pre-killed ones from the grocery store, and wait for it to show up and blow it the hell out of the water.

    • Roger

      Anacondas, like other snakes, are predators. This means they hunt for live food. They very rarely go after pre-killed meat.

  • School’d

    This is why ever state wildlife agency needs a redneck. Get Scooter a 12 pac, and prepare for some damn fine bbq.

    • peter petersen

      jersey winter will kill that snake brrrrrr

      • Laura Cottone

        Unless it finds a nice warm cellar to hide out in.

  • Louise Mccloud

    I agree the Wildlife expert is most probably the one who dropped the snake there since they are not native to this country. They still haven’t caught the snake? It’s getting fed somehow, keep your children, you, your cats, dogs, birds, etc., this sounds funny like the Bronx Zoo Cobra but it is deadly serious.

    n

    • Coral Cobra

      Not necessarily. It may not have eaten anything yet. Snakes, including anacondas can go weeks without food. A large green anaconda such as this, assuming it was healthy before escaping, could easily go for over a month without food.

    • FEDUPS

      Again I ask, you know this how? Pure, unsubstantiated conclusion. Think about it.

      • Youthinkyouknowbutyoudont.

        No that is common fact. Think about it.

        • FEDUPS

          Think about what? What is a fact and can YOU prove it? And if so, it is wrong and should be addressed by the proper authorities, or perhaps you suggest a lynch mob? By the way, has anyone actually substantiated its existence?

  • Andy71

    Because of Dept. of Natural Resources goals in all the states, if we ever have a national disaster where people would leave the cities to the forests in order to survive they would be faced with all kinds of dangers that weren’t there even 30 yrs ago like Killer Wolves, mountain lions that aren’t afraid of people,(because of not being hunted for yrs) Huge snakes, etc.

  • Andy71

    If you can’t find anyone to do anything about it, Then start hunting it Yourself ! You & Only You are responsible for the safety of your family !

  • Coral Cobra

    They are stretching it by saying “historical records indicate that the snake, which lives in remote areas of rain forests, can grow to 40 feet long, and weigh over 550 pounds.” Those “records” are about as accurate as the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse idea. There are no reliable sources showing that they can get anywhere near that size; only myths perpetuated by the various native tribes and this article for the sake of hype. The longest recorded ones don’t even get 30 feet.
    The anaconda won’t survive the winter, not even a remote chance. It wouldn’t even survive conditions found during the fall. I hope they catch it soon and bring it to somebody who can properly care for it.

    • Laura Cottone

      It could find a warm basement to hide out in over the colder months. It may not like to live on land, but if that is the only way to survive I am sure it will adapt.

      • Coral Cobra

        If the snake did manage to go to a basement to hide, it would eventually be found. Snakes are good at hiding, but a 15-16 foot green anaconda would still be challenged to stay concealed for the entire time that there is unsuitable conditions (which would be most of the year in New Jersey). Not only that, but the basement would need to have a sufficiently high humidity level for it to survive very long. This is an animal that requires very high levels of humidity; and if the humidity is too low, it will get respiratory issues and die. Hence why it is incredibly unlikely that that would work out.

  • Terry Jackson

    First of all how did the anaconda get from South America to here unless it was someone pets which are illegal to to begin with.So you need to find the source and deal with them.

    • ReptileRespect

      Unfortunately, local pet stores are selling green anacondas for cheap prices and even with filling out documentation they are still easy to get. They don’t belong here!!! Then idiots realize they can’t handle them and they escape or are let loose and this is what happens. They should not be sold in the first place!!!

  • Clint

    Havoc is all that can describe what is happening in the Everglades. Find it and kill it, and outlaw the ownership of any of its species in this country.

  • Jodie Pa

    Did the mayor of this Township support Gov. Christie in the last election?

  • abn12

    it will freeze in the winter

  • Barack “King Putt” Obola

    This is racist.

  • michael

    Does anyone have a really big Mongoose?