Customs and Border Protection agents inspecting packages at the International Mail Facility at John F. Kennedy airport last month discovered not one but five live juvenile King Cobras inside an express package from Hong Kong, according to CBP. Five live snakes!
The contents of the package, which arrived on June 29th, were listed as a "plastic tray," according to a press release from CBP. But an x-ray revealed what appeared to be snakes. CBP contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take a closer look.
"The outer box was carefully opened, revealing a styrofoam casing with rows of holes," according to the release. "FWS determined that the package did contain live snakes."
Also, it turns out, three Geckos. CBP turned the whole lot over to FWS for "further investigation."
King Cobras are "among the most venomous [snakes] on the planet," according to National Geographic. Mature snakes can reach 18 feet in length and, though apparently "shy," are "fiercely aggressive when cornered."
A spokesman for CBP clarified the risks for Gothamist.
"Our officers along with FWS extracted the snakes," said Anthony Bucci. "Of course there is always the potential for the snakes to bite those handling them. Fortunately the seizure by CBP and turning over process to FWS went without incident."
Geckos, meanwhile, are not poisonous. Notably, some breeds lack eyelids and keep their eyeballs moist by licking them.
"This seizure demonstrates our wide ranging responsibility in protecting our borders and our partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," said Leon Hayward, acting director of Customs's New York Field Operations, in a statement.