A woman was caught trying to smuggle dozens of snakes and other reptiles into the country, including a dangerous anaconda, one of the largest species of constricting snakes in the world, Israel Police said in a statement Thursday.
The woman, a resident of Ramat Gan in her 30s, was stopped and arrested at Ben Gurion Airport earlier this week with a suitcase full of socks and cloth bags stuffed with over 70 wriggling reptiles.
In addition to illegally bringing the creatures into the country, the woman is also suspected of violating animal welfare laws.
Police said that following a covert investigation, detectives from its airport-based 747 unit began following the woman as soon as she landed back in the country and then waited until she collected her suitcase.
They swooped on the suspect as soon as she left the terminal building.
Inside the suitcase, officers found rare snakes, lizards and turtles concealed inside socks and bags.
יחידת הבילוש מרחב נתב"ג עצרה השבוע תושבת רמת גן בחשד להברחת עשרות זוחלים ארצה, בהם – נחשי חנק מסוכנים מסוג אנקונדה. pic.twitter.com/j7hdRSnbqC
— חדשות הסקופים. (@Haskupim) June 1, 2023
Police did not say which species of anaconda they found. The green anaconda can grow to over five meters in length, though popular culture depictions of them eating people are considered greatly exaggerated.
The animals were handed over to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.