Woman Tries to Sneak 4-Foot "Emotional Support" Boa Constrictor Onto a Plane at Florida Airport

Bartholomew the snake did not fly the friendly skies.

A woman was caught trying to take a four-foot boa constrictor onto a plane, claiming the reptile was an emotional support animal. The woman had placed the snake in her carry-on luggage and clearly didn't warn TSA agents about the reptile before they put her bag through the X-ray machine. When they spotted the slithery passenger curled up in her luggage, the woman claimed the snake—named Bartholomew—was necessary for her mental wellbeing on the trip. Here's what happened.

Sneaky Snake

boa constrictor on tile surface inside home

It's not clear if the woman really thought the X-ray machine would somehow not pick up on the fact she had a four-foot snake hidden in her carry-on luggage. Fortunately, TSA agents at Tampa International Airport did see the constrictor, which the woman claimed to be an emotional support animal.

No Snakes Allowed


Airlines do not allow snakes to travel in carry-on bags, and only some will allow snakes in properly packed checked luggage. TSA has been having fun with the incident (as they did when a man was caught trying to smuggle a gun in a raw chicken over Thanksgiving).

Snakes On A Plane

Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson/Twitter

"Snake on a plane? This is a @TSA X-ray of Bartholomew, a boa constrictor who was in a traveler's carry-on bag at @FlyTPA last month. Woman claimed the snake was her emotional support pet. TSA notified the airline, which ruled that there was not going to be a snake on their plane!" tweeted TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.

Dad Jokes From TSA


The official TSA Instagram account posted the X-ray images online, with a characteristically tongue-in-cheek caption. "There's a danger noodle in that bag… Our officers at Tampa International Airport didn't find this hyssssssterical! Coiled up in a passenger's carry-on was a 4' boa constrictor! We really have no adder-ation for discovering any pet going through an x-ray machine."

Check Airline Animal Restrictions


"Do you have asp-irations of taking a snake on a plane?" the caption continues. "Don't get upsetti spaghetti by not understanding your airline's rules. For instance, airlines don't allow nope ropes in carry-on bags and only a few allow them to slither around in checked bags, if packaged correctly. Has all this left you wanting to squeeze out more travel answers? You can always mamba on over to our friends at AskTSA! They'll rattle out responses to your questions 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (ET)."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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