JEFFERSON — A reptile specialist and an animal control officer searched Thursday for a giant snake seen by several residents in the vicinity of South Jersey Avenue on the mainland and Halsey Island in Lake Hopatcong.
Gerald Andrejcak, a reptile expert who works for Common Sense for Animals, a nonprofit animal shelter, said he spotted the head and neck of the snake in a South Jersey Avenue boat house.
Andrejcak, who first entered the boat house by kayak before entering the water, said the snake's head was about as large as his hand. He estimated the body to be about 15 to 16 feet in length.
The snake quickly went under water and evaded capture by swimming past his leg, Andrejcak said.
Tony Colantonio, who rents a home on South Jersey Avenue, said he has spotted the snake seven times since last week within the vicinity of his dock — typically in the early morning or late at night.
"I'm ready for this mayhem to be over." - Michelle Colello
Colantonio said he was frustrated because a lot of people were skeptical about whether the snake was even real. But, he said, it's been keeping him and his girlfriend, Michelle Colello, from letting her children out on the dock.
"Everybody blew me off at first," Colantonio said. "The State Police said they couldn't do anything because the snake could be on land. Animal control said they couldn't do anything because it might be in the water."
Colello said the incident had caused a lot of mayhem in their lives.
"You're afraid to walk on the dock because you just don't know," she said. "I'm ready for this mayhem to be over."
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