JEFFERSON – State and local police have been investigating reports of a boa constrictor sighted in the water between Capp Beach and the Main Lake Market on South New Jersey Avenue in the township.
Two residents have seen the large, non-venomous snake, the first siting occurring Sunday morning when Tony Colantonio saw what he described as a 10 to 15-foot long snake moving through the water in about three feet of water.
According Colantonio’s girlfriend, Michelle Colello, he immediately called the Jefferson Township Animal Control who referred him to the New Jersey State Police marine patrol. A statement from the Police Information Office in Trenton said, “Troopers did investigate the report of a siting. Found nothing.”
On Wednesday morning, Joseph Bongiovanni, who owns the lakefront property where Colantonio first saw the snake, was sitting on the dock by his boathouse with his feet dangling in the water when he noticed a large, long shadow moving toward him in the water. At first, he said, he thought it was a branch moving with the waves of the water but quickly realized it was the boa constrictor he was warned about. Without hesitating he pulled his feet from the lake and left the dock, he said.
“The head was this big,” said Bongiocanni, holding his hands a foot from each other.
Reports of the large snake have made their way to Facebook and other media outlets prompting more phone calls to the state marine police on Lake Hopatcong. On Thursday, two marine patrols along with the township police and the animal control officers from Jefferson and Hopatcong conducted a widespread search of the shore area along South New Jersey Avenue near Capp Beach. Despite the extensive investigation the snake was not located, but said one of the state police officers on site, if a member of the public does spot it, he asks they “keep eyes on it so we can capture it.”
“People are not in danger,” said Dale Sloat, Hopatcong animal control officer. “Small dogs, cats, raccoons; these are in danger.”
“Call the police if you see it in the water,” said Kim Smith, animal control officer from Jefferson.