The Port Authority said that the harmless snake was later released into the wild. No one was injured, and plane operations were not affected.
A statement from United Airlines said passengers alerted the crew to the snake, and the airline “called the appropriate authorities to take care of the situation.”
One of the passengers told News 12 New Jersey that business-class passengers first saw the reptile while the plane was taxiing after landing. According to the report, scared passengers were shrieking and picking up their feet.
Garter snakes are common throughout the Southeast and most of North America; they are not venomous or aggressive toward humans. The snakes are typically between 18 and 26 inches long. Garter snakes will tend to avoid direct contact with humans or pets and only bite if “intentionally molested.”
Unlike the 2006 action film “Snakes on a Plane” in which Samuel L. Jackson fought dozens of venomous snakes that took over a jetliner, most cases of snakes being discovered on planes have involved a single animal that managed to slither on board.
However, one such instance was not so harmless. According to United Press International, a large snake that was believed to be a venomous green viper appeared from an overhead compartment on an Aeromexico flight in Mexico. A passenger posted a video on Twitter that showed the slithering reptile hanging from the ceiling of the plane. The plane received priority landing clearance once it reached Mexico City.
La vibora voladora…ja ja ja. Una experiencia única en el Vuelo Torreón-México, vuelo 231 de Aeroméxico. Eso si…Prioridad en aterrizaje. pic.twitter.com/qwDk6Wtszw
— Indalecio Medina (@Inda_medina) November 6, 2016