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The bizarre yet fascinating menagerie of animals detected by TSA agents in carry-on baggage at US airports carries on into 2023.
This time the discovery was an old standby theme popularized in movies: snakes on a plane! Well, it was one 4-foot boa constrictor to be exact. And technically, it never made it to the plane. Still, it’s intriguing.
The Transportation Security Administration tweeted Friday afternoon with the details from Tampa International Airport in Florida. The incident happened on December 15, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told CNN Travel in an email.
In a follow-up Instagram post, the TSA went wild with the snake puns:
“Our officers … didn’t find this hyssssssterical! Coiled up in a passenger’s carry-on was a 4’ boa constrictor! We really have no adder-ation for discovering any pet going through an x-ray machine.”
The puns — and admonishments — didn’t stop there.
“Do you have asp-rations of taking a snake on a plane? Don’t get upsetti spaghetti by not understanding your airline’s rules. For instance, airlines don’t allow nope ropes in carry-on bags and only a few allow them to slither around in checked bags, if packaged correctly.”
Farbstein said that the “TSA notified the airline that the woman (with the carry-on) was ticketed to fly on and the airline did not permit the snake on the plane.”
Boa constrictors are nonvenomous snakes that kill their prey by squeezing them in their strong coils. Their natural range is northern Mexico to Argentina.
Other animals, other bags
The boa hasn’t been the only bother of the animal variety recently.
Around Thanksgiving, poor Smells the Cat was found in a carry-on at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The person with the carry-on said the cat wasn’t his but came from his household. After the ordeal and the indignity of it all, Smells was rewarded with a sumptuous Thanksgiving spread.
Not long afterward, TSA agents found a poor pooch stuffed into a carry-on at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin.
Animals need to be removed from carrying cases, and the empty carrier sent through the screening machine, TSA has repeatedly warned.
If you want to travel with your permitted small pet in the cabin of a plane, TSA has some helpful hints so you can do it the correct and humane way.
Top image: This boa constrictor was caught on X-ray in a bag at Tampa International. (Photo from TSA)