JEFFERSON, N.J. (AP) — A 16-foot-long exotic snake reportedly slithering around New Jersey's largest lake is apparently a suburban legend. Or the snake just isn't hungry.
The state has stopped looking for the reptile after scientists failed to find any evidence of it in Lake Hopatcong (hoh-PAHT'-cong) and traps baited with chicken were left untouched.
Three unconfirmed sightings this month of a snake, perhaps an anaconda as long as 16 feet, raised concerns among visitors and swimmers.
Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese says state wildlife experts have found no scientific or biological evidence that an exotic snake is in the area. Ragonese says there are no signs of droppings or skin.
Ragonese says the 4-square-mile lake is home to black snakes and water snakes that can grow up to 10 feet long.