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Passenger Leaves A 15-Inch Snake Behind At TSA Checkpoint

By Parker Diakite

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The fear of traveling with snakes on a plane seemed like an irrational fear until the movie dropped more than a decade ago and since then, there have been a few incidents where the slimy creatures have appeared on a flight.

Back in 2013, hundreds of passengers were forced to stay the night in a Sydney hotel after a snake was spotted trying to hitch a ride on a Qantas flight to Tokyo, as reported in The Guardian.

In Alaska, passengers aboard a Ravn Alaska flight remained calmed when a four-foot snake was found half-sleep behind a duffle bag after a passenger left his pet behind.

More recently, a black racer snake was found in a vacation home in Hawaii after a Florida man said he didn’t realize the snake was in his backpack during his flight.

Thankfully, passengers in Newark Liberty International Airport didn’t have to come to face-to-face with said fears on a plane after a child spotted a snake at the TSA security checkpoint line.

“The 15-inch ring-necked snake, a thin black snake with a bright yellow band around the back of its neck, was spotted on the floor of the checkpoint in Terminal C by a youngster who heeded the advice, ‘if you see something, say something’ when she spotted it and notified a TSA officer,” a statement from TSA reads.


A TSA officer placed a gray checkpoint bin over the snake to contain it and prevent it from slithering away.

The checkpoint lane was closed temporarily and passengers shifted to another lane to clear the area. Port Authority Police was notified and secured the snake before taking it away, according to TSA officials.

“It’s common for travelers to accidentally leave items at the checkpoint,” said TSA’s New Jersey Federal Security Director Tom Carter. “Typically people leave items such as their keys, sunglasses, ID, hats, and gloves, but this is the first time someone has left a snake behind. We have a fairly robust lost and found program that reunites passengers with their lost items, but this passenger doesn’t need to call us about his snake.”

TSA screens a variety of pets that travelers bring to checkpoints, but it is up to the airline as to whether it will allow those pets, snakes or otherwise, on their aircraft.

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