20-Foot-Long Boa Constrictor Snake Loose In New Jersey's Lake Hopatcong

A 20-foot-long boa constrictor snake is loose in New Jersey's Lake Hoptacong. The snake is stirring up all kinds of worry around the state's largest lake, especially for neighbors.

CBS New York reports that residents in the area don't know where the snake might be lurking. Resident, Michelle Poli, and her boyfriend, have spotted the snake swimming in the lake for about two weeks; it even ventured into their boathouse. She says:

"It's scary, because you don't know where he's creeping from, so we just want it caught."
A dozen different sightings have been reported of the loose boa constrictor. Hoatcong animal control officers estimate that the snake is between 15 and 20-feet-long. Lake visitors are strongly urged to use caution around the water.

Animal control officer Dale Sloat says:

"What we're afraid of is the animals, small dogs, cats, raccoons — and I would advise people not to put their baby in the lake. A snake this size can probably swim about 25 miles an hour."
Sloat says they definitely need to catch the reptile. He believes the boa constrictor was once a pet, but it got too big for the owner to take care of.

Sloat assures people that the snake won't attack a person unless it feels threatened or cornered. Therefore, he advises people to stay away from the loose snake. He says:

"You don't want to touch it. You don't want to go towards it. You don't want to threaten it. It's not going to come at a person unless it's threatened, cornered, caught – then, it will squeeze you to death. This big a snake would be aggressive."
New Jersey Herald offers more on what Dale Sloat had to say about the snakes daily behavior:
"It's very easy to get away from it in the water, even if it's near people. But the boats in the lake — just the motors themselves — vibrate the water and will keep the boa out of the water during the day. Evening, maybe he'll go in. Dawn, probably. But not anywhere near the lake while people are boating and swimming."
Although it's unlikely the snake will pursue a human for no reason at all, Sloat shares that his nephew in Florida had a pet snake he thought loved him, and when he fell asleep on the couch, the snake wrapped herself around his neck. He was able to get the reptile off of him, fortunately.

The boa constrictor snake loose in the New Jersey lake will be placed at a snake sanctuary after it's captured.

[Image via The Telegraph]