TSA Stops a Man Attempting to Board with Live Snakes in His Pants

Snakes at TSA
© Digital Vision. from Photo Images and alexsl/ via Canva.com

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: May 3, 2024

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There were a few more passengers than expected on a plane flying out of Miami International Airport last month (April 2024). In a social media post shared by Transportation Security Administration officials, you can see the small camouflage bag that they were hidden in. The extraordinary discovery was made inside a passenger’s pants when he was searched at a checkpoint!

We are not told the exact species of the small, pink snakes. Eventually they were handed over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Can You Take Animals on Airplanes?

There are strict rules and regulations governing the carriage of animals on airplanes. The Animal Welfare Act and individual airline policies must be complied with. Most airlines require health certificates for animals before they fly. There are also strict laws about the import and export of wildlife species.

Animal welfare should be a priority during flights. The official advice is to try to schedule nonstop fights and to inform the pilot or flight attendants that there is an animal onboard.

Extraordinary Stories of Animals Smuggled Onto Planes

Melbourne, Australia. Orange suitcase with label at airport.

Animals are smuggled onto planes as part of wildlife trafficking.


This is by no means an isolated incident and there are plenty of other news reports of people smuggling animals onto planes. In March 2024, officials at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport arrested six people for attempting to smuggle an assortment of wild animals in checked luggage. The creatures included a red panda and a cotton-top tamarin monkey. Both are endangered species and the incident was likely part of Thailand’s infamous illegal wildlife smuggling trade. The report further explains that a man had been arrested a month earlier at the same airport for trying to smuggle Komodo dragons, pythons, and live fish!

In a further shocking incident, VietJet Air fight attendants discovered a marmot running around the cabin! Further investigations revealed otters and 28 star tortoises in a large untagged bag. A female passenger was the suspected culprit.

However, both of these stories are topped by a massive wildlife trafficking bust in 2022. This was also at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport where two women were caught trying to smuggle 109 animals onto a flight to India. The haul included turtles, chameleons, snakes, porcupines, and armadillos. The hidden animals were detected in suitcases by routine X-ray inspections.  

Pets on Planes

A miniature Poodle dog in a travel carrier bag being held by a woman getting out of a car with a suitcase

Some people have smuggled pets onto planes.


Not all animals smuggled onto airplanes are wild animals! In 2013, a woman managed to smuggle her Yorkshire terrier past officials at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. The alarm was not raised until the aircraft was on the runway and the pooch was spotted by another passenger. The British Airways flight returned to the terminal and the woman, her luggage, and the Yorkie were removed from the plane!

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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