She tried to smuggle a terrifying animal on a plane for a "emotional" reason
A woman who was discovered by airport customs officials trying to smuggle her large python in her carry-on bag has defended having the fearsome beast with her as her pet and emotional and psychological support, she said.
The snake, dubbed Bartholomew, was spotted by routine X-rays of passengers' bags by staff at the Tampa, Florida airport.
The US Transportation Security Administration said that airlines do not allow snakes in carry-on baggage, and that only a few can pass through in checked bags if the animal is properly packaged.
Transportation Department spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein tweeted, "A snake on a plane?
This is an X-ray image of a large snake that was in a passenger's handbag at Tampa Airport last month.
She added, “The woman claimed that the snake is her pet, who provides her with emotional support.
The TSA notified the airline, who ruled that they would not allow a snake on their plane!”
This is not the first time that customs officials have discovered an attempt to pass live animals in airline baggage.
Previously, customs officers at Munich airport discovered a live albino crocodile hidden in a bag belonging to an American airline passenger.
The would-be animal smuggler was trying to transport the rare crocodile from Munich to Singapore when security personnel noticed something unusual on the baggage X-ray scanner.
In August last year, customs officials at Chennai airport were stunned when they found nearly two dozen animals smuggled in a man's checked baggage.
The smuggler then stole twenty different snakes, turtles and monkeys in boxes in his checked bags on a flight from Bangkok, which officials discovered after a tip-off alerted them to the possible smuggling plan.
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