Trying to get through security at the airport can be incredibly stressful - and that's without a 15-inch ring-necked snake sharing the line with you.
Authorities say a sharp-eyed youngster spotted the black snake that was apparently left behind by another unknown passenger at the checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday night. When the child alerted a nearby TSA security guard, he used one a luggage bin to trap the snake and then moved people in the security line to another, less snake-infested one, Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said.
"You could not make this up," TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told The New York Post. "The snake did not make it on the plane, much to the relief of whoever would have been sitting next to it."
The checkpoint was temporarily closed before police came to take the reptile away.
"Someone left this snake at a @TSA checkpoint at @EWRairport last night. TSA has a good lost and found program to reunite travelers with items they've left at checkpoints, but if that was your snake, don't bother calling to retrieve it," a Farbstein tweeted.
Ring-neck snakes are harmless creatures and generally found in areas ranging from Canada to Florida and Central Mexico. This breed of snake is nocturnal and a bit of an oddball species thanks to its brightly-colored bellies which can be red, orange or even pink. Thanks to some new guidelines recently released by the FAA, it would have been up to the airline whether it would have allowed the snake on board the passenger's flight.
“We have a fairly robust lost and found program that reunites passengers with their lost items, but this passenger doesn’t need to call us about his snake,” TSA New Jersey Federal Security Director Tom Carter said.
Photo: Transportation Security Administration