Lake Hopatcong Anaconda An Urban Legend
July 30, 2014
We reported a few weeks ago (Read story here) about the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) that was allegedly swimming in New Jersey's Lake Hopatcong and noted some interesting circumstances surrounding the alleged sightings. Well, the infamous anaconda of Lake Hopatcong apparently is an urban legend, as the last person who was actively searching for the mythical creature has called it quits, due in part to a threatening phone call he said he received. Gerald Andrejcak, a self-described snake expert who two weeks ago said that the snake swam right through his legs as he tried to capture it, told the Daily Record that the phone call was the last straw and he packed it up.
“I know what I saw. Everyone can try to discredit me all they want, but I know my snakes,” Andrejcak told the paper. “But I wasn’t the first person to see the creature and I wasn’t the last to see it.”
State officials called it quits July 25 without a single shred of evidence that the snake was ever in or around the lake, telling the paper that there were no snake skins, no droppings, no missing pets, or any other signs of a large constricting snake in or around the lake. We know that a snake that was well fed wouldn't necessarily be hunting, and sheds don't just happen, nor do droppings, but that is beside the point. Officials weren't able to find anything remotely resembling a large constricting snake.
Chasing new jersey/Youtube
Gerald Andrejcak, center, claims to have seen an anaconda in New Jersey's Lake Hopatcong.
But could it still be out cruising the lake? There is a possibility but it all seems to point to an urban legend. The whole story began to smell rather quickly, with Andrejcak alleging to have said that a local animal control officer told him to call the snake a boa constrictor rather than a green anaconda so as to avoid a panic at the popular summer lake. And then there was the alleged size of the reptile, with some estimating it to have been just 8 feet or so and others claiming it was at least 20 feet in length, according to news reports.
Regardless, Andrejcak said that if he is called upon to resume the search he said he would absolutely return, but for now, the green anaconda, which has its own Twitter handle @HopatcongBoa, is all but an urban legend.
John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata