Search for Lake Hopatcong snake ends

Expert certain he saw head and body in water

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  • Reptile expert Gerald Andrejcak is pictured with a snake, which is not the one officials have been searching for at Lake Hopatcong.



By Laurie Gordon
— Reptile expert Gerald Andrejcak has given up looking for the green anaconda whose head and body he saw in the shallow waters of Lake Hopatcong a few weeks ago.

For now, that is.
After receiving a threatening phone call, Andrejcak, who works for Common Sense for Animals, said, “I know what I saw and I know it's out there. I saw the snake's head and about 15-feet of its body.”

He said that the voice on the other end of the phone call he received over the weekend came from a blocked number and warned him to “walk away from this,” and that “even if you find a snake people are going to think you planted it.”

Andrejcak had enough.
He said he was incensed that someone would have the audacity to threaten him, has no idea who it was and feels whoever it was was trying to discredit and intimidate him. Despite a lot of speculation and jokes about the snake, extending to Facebook, Twitter and even to the David Letterman Show, Andrejcak contends the snake is real and fears that someone is going to get hurt.

“Then they'll come crawling back to me,” Andrejcak said.

He acknowledged the traps set by wildlife agencies, and didn't want to comment on the integrity or intentions of these organizations other than to say, “They told residents they were wasting their time, money and man hours with no physical evidence.”

Andrejcak said an effective trap to catch the snake would entail a cylinder-like trap at least 15-feet-long so the snake would fit in it. He questioned using chicken as bait as others had done.

“Also, the problem with Lake Hopatcong and catching the snake is that you stir up a mud puddle wherever you jump in, so it's hard to see under the water,” Andrejcak said.

“I was trying to do the right thing and help and now I'm the bad guy,” he said.

To the contrary, his track record indicates that he is passionate about animals and animal rescue. In fact, he nearly died partaking in an animal awareness expedition, he said. In April 2012, he was part of a volunteer kayak trip for Common Sense that traveled from the Delaware River to Daytona, Florida.

The purpose was to educate the public about the daily struggles of un-neutered animals and the no-kill shelters that desire to place each animal in a permanent home. Andrejcak made it as far as North Carolina when he had a heart attack while kayaking, he said.

As for the snake in the lake, Andrejcak said that he is certain of what he saw.

He isn't going to say a word to anyone about returning to try to find the elusive anaconda, but as the cold months approach, he said if it hasn't been caught, he'll probably return to try to find it and save it from death as it could not survive the winter, he said.

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