LAKE HOPATCONG - A local reptile expert believes the big snake on the loose in the Hopatcong area is actually an anaconda, and not a boa constrictor.

News 12 first reported on Monday that a boa constrictor was believed to be on the loose in Jefferson Township.

Ronald Sissmann, who volunteers with the NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife, believes that eyewitness encounter descriptions of the snake lead him to believe it is an anaconda, due to its color, size and tendency to take to the water.

He says the reptile would not be dangerous to a kayaker, but small children and animals near the shore would be a possible hazard.

Eyewitnesses have said the snake is 12-16 feet long.

Sissmann says the snake was most likely a pet that got too big for its owner to keep, and was then dumped in the lake.

If anyone sees the large snake, they are advised to stay away from it and call the authorities.