Nearly a half a dozen king cobras and a handful of geckos were seized by border agents at Kennedy Airport, authorities said.
The reptiles were detected by Customs and Border Protection officers scanning an express mail package from Hong Kong late last month.
The contents of the package were described as a “plastic tray,” but an x-ray revealed the slithering outlines of snakes.
The officers contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to examine the package further.
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The FWS officers opened the container and found a Styrofoam casing with rows of holes. The parcel was filled with five juvenile king cobras and three geckos.
The animals were all alive, and the package was turned over to the FWS for further investigation, authorities said.