Lake Hoptacong’s Anaconda: A New Jersey Sea Monster
A New Jersey island town has been shaken up by reports of a huge anaconda that has taken up residence in Lake Hoptacong, which surrounds Halsey Island. There have been repeated sightings of the giant snake, which was initially believed to be a boa constrictor. The snake’s advent is an exciting event for fans of cryptozoology: The anaconda has been likened to a New Jersey version of the Loch Ness Monster.
Unlike Nessie, however, the Lake Hoptacong snake is definitely real. Wildlife expert Gerald Andrejack has been searching for the snake and sighted it twice in July. It was his observation that confirmed that the snake is in fact an anaconda rather than a boa constrictor.
While Halsey Island residents have been mightily spooked by the anaconda, Andrejack confirms that if treated cautiously the snake poses no risk to humans. Like any large wild animal it will defend itself if cornered and people are advised not to approach it. But contrary to popular fears, the snake is more interested in feeding on muskrats and possums than humans. Still, some Halsey Islanders want the creature killed. Andrejack is hoping to find and capture it before that can happen.
The anaconda was likely an unwanted pet that someone tried to abandon in the wild. Andrejack said bluntly: “Some idiot dropped it in the lake.” So, like a flesh and blood version of the mythical sewer alligators of New York City, the snake has made the best of its new habitat. According to Andrejack, it should be able to survive there for some time even if cold weather hits before it is captured. But its long term future is uncertain, since anacondas are not suited to a temperate climate.