As United Airlines Flight 1246 was pulling into Newark International Airport, panic arose when a snake was spotted slithering about. Around 1:15 p.m. on Monday the plane had just landed after a two-hour flight from Tampa. It was taxiing towards its gate when people in the business class section started shrieking. New Jersey’s News 12 reported that passengers were terrified as they saw the snake moving around the cabin. They lifted their feet up to avoid being bitten.
Eventually, the reptile slithered from business class to economy. At the gate, airport police arrived and took away the uninvited guest. After police safely removed the snake, passengers were able to retrieve their luggage and leave the plane. Once all passengers had deplaned, a search of the aircraft was conducted to see if any other unauthorized persons or animals were on board. Fortunately, no other snakes were found and the flight’s departure only experienced a 20-minute delay.
It is uncertain how the serpent managed to get on the airplane. There is a likelihood that it was carried onboard by a passenger. If this turns out to be true, it’s possible the snake could have hidden away in someone’s luggage without them realizing it. It’s also possible that the snake managed to get into the cargo hold. However, this seems less likely because the reptile would have had to avoid detection during loading and unloading.
Theories on how the snake got on the plane
Upon discovery of the snake, passengers became wildly chaotic. Once removed, authorities were able to identify it as a Garter Snake.There are around 35 similar snake species in North America that are commonly referred to as Garter Snakes. These snakes are relatively small and not dangerous to humans. There are many variations among snakes, but they generally have large round eyes, round pupils, a slender build, keeled scales, and a pattern of longitudinal stripes that may or may not include spots (although some have no stripes at all). They also vary significantly in total length from as short as 18″ to as long as 51″.
Although they usually only eat small animals and are non-venomous, the majority of people are petrified of snakes–especially if they’re crammed in a tight space with one.
Garter snakes are commonly found across North America. However, it is rare for one to be close to an airliner, let alone inside one. Until more information is released about where the snake came from, we won’t know how it got on board the plane. What we do know is that this particular snake traveled much further than most of its species ever do. It went on a journey up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States in less than two hours.