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New Jersey Ends Hunt For Enormous Snake In Lake Hopatcong

JEFFERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Reports of a 16-foot-long exotic snake slithering around New Jersey's largest lake are 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 the snake in Lake Hopatcong and traps baited with chicken were left untouched.

Three unconfirmed sightings this month of a snake, perhaps a boa constrictor or anaconda as large as 16 feet, raised concerns among visitors and swimmers.

Earlier this month, resident Michelle Poli told CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco she and her boyfriend had seen the snake swimming, and even in their boathouse.

Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese said state wildlife experts have found no scientific or biological evidence that an exotic snake is in the area. Ragonese said there are no signs of droppings or skin.

"We have not found any evidence of an exotic snake in Lake Hopatcong," Ragonese told WCBS 880.

"The only calls we've gotten really have been from the media, I'll be honest with you," he added. "We have not gotten many calls from the lake community."

Ragonese said the 4-square-mile lake is home to black snakes and water snakes that can grow up to 10-feet long.

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