Giant Snake Spotted in Maine

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 3rd, 2009

The Maine Warden Service is looking into two sightings of a giant snake in the Rumford (Maine) canal system.

Police told the Sun Journal of Lewiston that two people contacted them Wednesday, July 1, 2009, saying they’d seen a monster snake — perhaps up to 17 feet long — enter the canal system behind a local store.

Maine Warden Service spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte said early Wednesday evening: “The Maine Warden Service has received a report of an apparent large snake in the river, and a broad description of where it may be. If anyone has detailed information of a specific location where it may be for an extended period of time, please call the Warden Service so that the snake can be identified and removed, if necessary.”

Snake expert Robbie White from nearby Mexico (yes, Maine) told the paper that based on the description, the snake could be a red-tail boa constrictor or a Burmese python. He said snakes in Maine don’t grow to that size, unless it was a pet that escaped.

Weirdly, I just noticed that last July, right before I was trying to get out of the house also to leave on a trip, guess what showed up in Maine? Yep, a giant snake. Ah, it’s just a another cryptocoincidence. 🙂

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal
Two people told Rumford police dispatcher Sue Milligan on Wednesday morning that they saw a 17-foot-long boa constrictor enter the Rumford canal here behind Bartash’s store, seen in the background.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal
An over-abundance of spring rain has turned the banks of Rumford’s canal system into lush brushy habitat that could be home to a giant snake if sightings on Wednesday morning turn out to be true. This view shows the Hartford Street bridge.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal
High water from more than two weeks of rain has risen water levels in Rumford’s canal system as illustrated by the Route 108 bridge in the background. On Wednesday, two people told police they saw a giant snake entering the water through the brush on the right off Canal Street.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

13 Responses to “Giant Snake Spotted in Maine”

  1. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    Jeez, are all the cryptids just flocking right to Maine now? Hey, if El Chupacabras ends up doing the can-can down a main road over there, can you try to get pictures? 😀

  2. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Somewhere, someone must have done a study to determine how much surprise and fear cause eyewitnesses to overestimate size. I’m thinking if I saw a 5’6″ sasquatch strolling across the yard, in my imagination it would grow to 8′, no problem. If I was surprised by a 10′ snake in Maine, and only managed to catch a glimpse as it slid into the water, it might easily seem to be 17′, particularly if I didn’t have anything convenient to compare its size with in the first place.

    Maybe this snake was 17′ long, but I think the question has to be asked.

  3. Erik Knatterud responds:

    What is the water temperature in that canal right now, and what are the temperatures preferred for boas or pythons? When people say snake and not being specific about species, they got an identification of something long and narrow, at best.

    A tropical constrictor was found in a pond near Stavanger (Norway) a couple of years ago, sluggish and agile like a frozen, stiff rubber hose. That in a water of about 20 d. Cels. or less.

  4. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Giant is such a relative term these days. I think people say it because the word big isn’t big enough anymore. What’s interesting about this story to me is that there’s more proof that an apparent migration of creatures, both mundane and extraordinary, to the more habitable regions of this world. Cryptozoology has a new function in that “coal mine canaries” are being identified as the citizenry stumbles upon them.

  5. shovethenos responds:

    It’s doubtful that tropical snakes like boas and pythons could actually expand range into areas with severe winters. So it is likely an escapee.

    But that being said, large constrictors like that only need one big meal a year to survive. So if it was able to grab a couple meals during the summer and then get into someone’s basement around a water heater or a furnace for the cold months theoretically it could survive indefinitely. And pretty comfortably at that.

  6. gkingdano responds:

    IF, and I say IF, there is a exotic monster size boa lose in Maine, this just another example why this killer snakes should not be allowed to be kept as “PETS”. The people who want a cute little snake so that they can be cool to there friends are the same ones who let this monsters go in the wild KNOWING that they are able to kill small children and even adults. Just look up the story this week of the one that “got out” of its cage and killed the young girl while its “owner” sleep with her mother in the next room. If these people NEED a snake that can grow to these massive sizes, make laws that they have to get it registered and put down a large bond to cover the damage when their “pet” “gets out”. AND accept going to jail WHEN it gets out for introducing a non-native dangerous animal to the environment!

  7. Piltdown responds:

    OK, I’m staying indoors from now on to avoid being trampled to death by all the cryptids out there.

  8. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Amen to that, gkingdano! Unfortunately, it may be too late to prevent pythons from establishing themselves over the southern third of the US.

  9. Alligator responds:

    Consider the environmental changes now happening in the USA because of introduced, invasive species:
    kudzu plants,
    garlic mustard
    zebra mussels
    African killer bees
    fire ants
    Argentine ants
    feral hogs/wild boars (estimated now at 5 to 6 million)
    Asian snakehead fish
    Asian catfish
    Carp (of all varieties)
    A whole host of parasitic insects that specialize in killing certain species of trees.
    Florida has established colonies of pythons, iguanas, caimans, all kinds of geckos and anoles and Nile monitor lizards. Now we can add Burmese pythons (third largest snake in the world) to the mix. Hopefully nothing like cobras, mambas, kraits or Russell’s viper gets added to this list.

    What is really weird is that in much of their native range, these giant pythons are endangered or threatened. How very odd (and scary) that there may now be more in captivity and the wild in the USA than in the wilds of SE Asia.

  10. springheeledjack responds:

    I think with bipedal things like BF height is easier to guesstimate because you have more reference…I know I am about 6 foot tall, and so if I see something else walking…person, etc…I can at least accurately guess whether someone is shorter or taller than myself just because of repeated encounters with people:)

    As for snakes, and water cryptids, fish, etc…I do think guesstimating size is tougher, if for no other reason, just the lack of opportunities to judge things like snakes and crocs and USO’s (unless you use Quint’s rule of thumb…you look from the tail to the dorsal Chief…).

    So 17 foot could be over exaggerating, however, what people are seeing does lead me to believe that what they have seen is probably bigger than a four foot snake…they might be off by a few feet (and the possibility is there they could be off in the other direction too), but somebody is seeing a large snake–though what large or giant means may indeed be in the eye of the beholder.

  11. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    -Alligator: Actually, you forgot to mention that Florida also has a breeding population of Spitting Cobras.

  12. cryptidsrus responds:

    I agree with Fhqwhads. Maybe they’re overestimating the size.
    Although from the way the story made it sound, not by much. 🙁

    I agree also it’s probably an escaped pet.
    Alligator’s list was very sobering. And frightening.

    Another reason not to go to Maine…:) (Joke, BTW, Loren).

  13. cliff responds:

    Alligator – Talking about the established colonies in Florida and hoping that the exotic venomous species don’t make it on the “breeding populations” list, it is surprisingly easy for an “average” person to get their hands on exotic venomous snakes.

    I only collect and handle local non-venomous species myself such as corn snakes, but I did a little research once after overhearing a conversation about obtaining illegal “hot” snakes. I found several websites selling many different varieties of rattlers, plus copperheads, cottonmouths, etc. for fairly cheap ($100 or less). Not only that, but for a little more, and without any kind of license or permit, you can purchase green or black mambas, Russell’s vipers, varieties of cobras, puff adders, Gaboon vipers, etc. But even more surprising than the different exotic species that are available are the prices. The snakes like the black mambas fetched a higher price (maybe $500-$1000) but still cheap enough to be available to someone with enough interest to buy one, or two, or three. I didn’t believe that those snakes were available for purchase to the general public, so I set up a fake transaction, and got all the way to the actual payment part with never a question asked about my legal status to own a “hot” snake. All I had to do was pay and then the snake would have been delivered. I didn’t go through with it of course, but could have purchased an exotic, venomous species for a couple hundred bucks. I don’t remember exactly what species I had picked a couple years ago when I did this, but it was a highly venomous exotic snake, for around $200.00 that I just picked from an “available now” list. I do remember that the black mambas had a “waiting list” and I remember that thought scared the crap outta me.

    And just think if those species get loose in an environment like the Florida everglades, that could pose a serious problem, for humans and animals alike. I think you have what, maybe an hour to get treatment for a black mamba bite?

    I don’t recall the exact website where I did my little investigation, but I do recall that there were several shady snake dealers out there interested only in the $$ they can bring in, not whether or not they are selling these snakes to licensed, trained individuals. A teenager with a summer job and a pre-paid debit card could have a Gaboon Viper, or rattlesnake, copperhead, or spitting cobra delivered to his front door and put it in an aquarium in his room. Scary.

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