Reticulated Albino Python Snakes in Manhattan, New York

  • Longest Snakes in the World, Growing to 20 Feet.
  • Reticulated Pythons Can be Dangerous.
  • In New York, a Special Permit is Required to Keep Them
From L to R: New York State Environmental Conservation Officers Brown, Chomicki, Noyes and Lomozik, with two juvenile Albino Reticulated Pythons.  NYSDEC Photo

MANHATTAN – Early in February – 2017, New York State Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Spencer Noyes came across a Craigslist ad offering an Albino Reticulated Python for sale in Manhattan.

Reticulated Pythons are classified as wild animals under New York State Environmental Conservation Law and individuals are required to have a special license to possess or sell the snakes.  Reticulated Pythons are the longest snakes in the world, growing to more than 20 feet in length and can be dangerous.

Working with Lt. Michael Buckley, ECO Noyes determined the seller did not have a license.  Acting as an interested buyer, Noyes contacted the seller and after several phone conversations, the seller agreed on a price for the original snake plus a second animal.  On Feb. 13, ECOs Noyes and Bill Chomicki went in plain clothes to the seller’s residence in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, New York.

Lt. Nate VerHague and ECO’s Zach Brown and Jarrod Lomozik served as uniformed backup.  When the seller came outside with both snakes, Noyes and Chomicki identified themselves as Conservation Officers and, after a brief conversation, the seller admitted to not having any DEC permits to possess the snakes.  

The snakes were seized as evidence and transported to the Animal Care Center of New York City, where they are being cared for and will eventually be sent to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, New York.  The Sean Casey Animal Rescue Group specializes in the rescue and rehabilitation of reptiles.  The seller was charged with possessing a wild animal without a permit and is due in New York County Court in May.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law, protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.

In 2016, the 286 ECOs across the state responded to 26,400 calls and issued 22,150 tickets for crimes ranging from deer poaching to corporate toxic dumping and illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

“From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling New York State are the first line of defense in protecting New York’s environment and its natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos.  “They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes.  Although they don’t receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC’s mission to protect and enhance our environment.”