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Snake on runway delays flight: Slithering snake avoids a runway kill

Snake on a runway causes a flight from San Francisco to JFK Airport to be delayed, as pilot wanted the snake moved!
Snake on a runway causes a flight from San Francisco to JFK Airport to be delayed, as pilot wanted the snake moved!
Wikimedia Commons

The movie “Snakes on a Plane,” gave airline passengers food for thought a few years back when the flick became popular, but today a new chapter of a snake vs. flight has opened up in real-life. A snake on the runway delayed a flight from San Francisco to New York as the pilot requested the snake be removed so it wasn’t road kill, or in this case runway kill, as the plane taxied down the runway, according to SFist on May 16.

The snake was no more than six inches long and it is believed to be a run-of-the-mill garter snake, but still the pilot was blatant about not having this snake a victim of air travel. They first tried to get the snake to move by sounding sirens, as supposedly snakes are responsive to this noise, but not this snake, he didn’t move.

Finally they got someone to come out and bag the snake and take it away to a place it would be safe, like a reptile sanctuary. Delaying a flight because a snake was on the runway was a first, claimed veteran airline staff.

Tweets told the story from the passenger's perspective as they narrated the progress. One passenger tweeted that the pilot told them that their flight was held up “due to a snake on the runway, which we are trying to move away with sirens.”

Another passenger tweeted about the final attempt of removing the snake saying “airport security is attempting to bag the snake and take it to a snake sanctuary.” The New York Posts reports that the worker grabbed the snake and moved it to a grassy area.

You would think PETA, who is usually quick on the draw when an animal’s welfare is put on the line, would have put out a statement giving kudos to this pilot for taking the time to make a difference. The good needs to be recognized as well as the bad!

As fate would have it, this small snake believed to be a garter snake, “has been considered endangered since 1967.” While the pilot was probably not aware of this, with only 1,000-2,000 adult San Francisco garter snakes in existence, the pilot was doing a great service for the species. Now is the time for PETA to throw this pilot a bone!

The plane was only delayed a few minutes and it arrived on time at JFK Airport on time, according to the New York Post. When all was said and done, the passengers had a short delay, but an endangered species has one more alive today because of the pilot's good deed.