There's something about lakes that has always spooked me out. Maybe it's because I grew up next to an ocean and -- with the exception of sharks (which you never saw) -- you had a pretty good idea what you could expect to find in the water. But lakes are still and mysterious. Anything could be hiding several feet below the water's surface, just waiting for you to take a chance and dive in.
And my darkest and most irrational lake fears were confirmed this weekend, when swimmers and boaters in New Jersey discovered they were sharing Lake Hopatcong with a 20-foot snake. Oh. My. Lord.
The giant boa constrictor has been spotted in the state's largest lake more than a dozen times in the last two weeks. And get this: one family says it actually got into their boathouse. Can you imagine? There you are, enjoying the warm summer day and kicking back with a cold glass of lemonade in your vacation house on the lake and, all of a sudden, a sea serpent so huge it belongs in a fairy tale saunters into your home from out of nowhere and continues to creep around the place.
What do you do? I mean, obviously, you call animal control officers, but I mean -- what do you do that very second? Jump on the couch as if you've seen a mouse? No, that wouldn't work because snakes can climb. Run out of the house and let the snake take over? Yep, that's EXACTLY what I'd do.
Animal control officers have confirmed that this massive beast exists and have advised residents not to put their babies in the water. Uhhh, NO PROBLEM, guys. Apparently, the thing can swim about 25 miles an hour. They believe the snake was once somebody's pet, but that it was abandoned when its owner realized it could no longer care for it.
Seriously, folks, if you're going to go and make a snake your pet, God bless you. But keep that thing in a cage for the rest of its days and please don't unleash it upon the rest of the world. And if you can't care for it, keep this one word in mind: zoo. I repeat, not a lake, not a street -- a ZOO.
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Although the boa constrictor is not venomous, it can squeeze an animal -- or human -- to death if it feels threatened. So, this goes without saying, if you plan on hanging out by this lake anytime soon and just so happen to stumble upon a 20-foot snake, don't try and be a hero and capture it. Just let it be.
What would you do if you found out a 20-foot snake was lurking in a lake by your home?
Image via Scott Markowitz/Flickr