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Thousands of snakes in a lake in Harbor City

September 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
There are thousands of new uninvited guests at Machado Lake in Harbor City.Scientists estimate about 3,000 snakes are living at the lake.

Like many non-native species, experts believe they were dumped at the lake by their owners. According to California law, it is illegal to keep a water snake as a pet.

"A lot of my neighbors would have for Easter ducks and stuff, and they couldn't keep (the snakes) at home and they would come and dump them here," said Jody Lucas of Torrance.

The snakes aren't poisonous, but they do bite.

"There are a lot of kids who come to this park, so they've got to do something about it," Said Maynor Alonzo of Carson.

The snakes don't appear to be leaving any time soon.

They rest at the bottom of the lake and feed off fish and frogs.

Some visitors don't even believe there are any at the lake.

"No. No fish, no snakes, no alligators," said Alvaro Lowry of Los Angeles. "Nothing like that."

Next year, the city plans to clean the lake and some hope that will create a more balanced ecosystem.

Reggie the alligator, who eluded capture from the wild for nearly two years, also lived at Machado Lake before being transported to his new home at the Los Angeles Zoo.

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