A Traveler Forgot Their Snake at TSA Checkpoint

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Snake found at Newark Liberty International Airport

It appears that, contrary to popular belief, not all snakes are keen to fly aboard planes.

On the night of August 18, 2019, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at Newark Liberty International Airport were alerted to the presence of a serpentine intruder slithering unchecked along the floor of Terminal C.

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A TSA press release revealed the presumed escaped pet to be a fifteen-inch, ring-necked snake—a thin black snake with a bright yellow band around the back of its neck—a species which is, thankfully, harmless to humans.

A TSA officer detained the escapee by placing a gray checkpoint bin over him/her (who can tell?) and promptly notified the Port Authority Police, who came to secure and remove the snake, while the checkpoint lane was temporarily shut down and other passengers rerouted.

No, Samuel L. Jackson did not need to be called in to handle the situation.

“It’s common for travelers to accidentally leave items at the checkpoint,” said TSA’s New Jersey Deputy Federal Security Director Chris Murgia. “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 reports that it regularly screens a variety of pets brought through aviation security checkpoints at airports nationwide, although it is ultimately up to the airline as to whether it will allow these animal companions onto the aircraft.