The giant snakeskin found in Westbrook came from an anaconda

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Kind of a crazy news day. Let’s review.

What we’re talking about

Guys, that giant snakeskin found in Westbrook? Yeah, that’s totally from an anaconda, according to the scientist who tested it. 

Jake Bleiberg broke the story today that adds a new layer of intrigue to the summer’s great reptilian mystery.

He reports:

The massive snakeskin found in Westbrook earlier this month has been identified as belonging to the world’s largest species of snake, a predator native to South America and made infamous by Hollywood thrillers.

“It’s a 100 percent match for an anaconda,” said John Placyk, a University of Texas, Tyler herpetologist who ran genetic testing on the snakeskin for the Westbrook Police Department. “If it’s a green anaconda, you’ve got a snake that could potentially get to 20 feet long.”

The skin was found on the bank of the Presumpscot River after a summer of snake sightings in Westbrook. In late June, city police received a report of a snake “as long as a truck [with] a head the size of a small ball” slithering near a playground in Riverbank Park. And a few days later two police officers said they saw a giant snake, at least 10 feet long, eating what appeared to be a beaver along the riverbank.

There is no way to say definitively that the anaconda skin — which is 12 feet, 1 inch long and 4 inches in diameter at its widest point, according to police — belongs to the snake spotted earlier in the summer.

We’re as surprised as anybody but again we don’t know if that was planted there or if there’s actually a snake,” said Westbrook police Cpt. Sean Lally. “The fact that the animal has been sighted near the water sort of bolsters the theory that it’s an anaconda, but who knows.”

Read the full story here.


Meanwhile, following the most recent LePage saga — On Monday night, the governing body of a Westbrook youth center said its board voted not to host a town hall meeting Gov. Paul LePage had announced earlier in the day.

But on Tuesday, the governor’s office came out with its own story: The call to cancel the Wednesday event originally came from LePage, not the My Place Teen Center, an organization that offers after-school programs and meals for at-risk youth.

The conflicting narratives added to the confusion on the day that a LePage radio interview raised the possibility that he was considering resignation after a series of controversies over the past week — an idea that the governor later appeared to dismiss in a tweet.

The ship responsible for cleaning up oil spills is leaving Portland Harbor — Kelly Bouchard of the Press Herald reports: “The Maine Responder, a massive pollution-control vessel that has been moored in Portland Harbor for more than two decades, has been pulled from service because its operator has lost funding and the risk of an oil spill in the region has dropped because of declining tanker traffic to the Portland Pipe Line Corp.”

Context: Jake last week reported that the spike in oil deliveries from Maine to Canada this summer is actually kind of an anomaly.

Related: Ships that refuel while anchored at sea are not required by law to use this precaution against oil spills

Rest easy, Maine: Garmin will keep making DeLorme’s beloved gazetteer maps — This is a good opportunity to rewatch Troy R. Bennett’s excellent music video for his instant classic, “Keep Your Hands Off My Gazetteer.”

The Big Idea

That signal from deep space might not be aliens — To be fair, this article is obviously part of a massive government conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials. The Truth Is Out There.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.