Washington: Authorities spent Thursday removing more than 100 snakes from a house in Charles County after a man was found dead inside, officials in Maryland said.
Officers responded to the 5500 block of Raphael Drive in Pomfret, Maryland, about 6pm Wednesday after a neighbour who went to check on the man and saw him lying unconscious on the floor called authorities for help, police said.
Police said fire and EMS personnel broke through the front door and found a 49-year-old man dead inside the house. His identity was not released.
An investigation is ongoing and there were no obvious signs of foul play, police said. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore will perform an autopsy.
Officials said 124 snakes, both venomous and nonvenomous, were removed from the home. Jennifer Harris, a spokeswoman for the Charles County Government, said the snakes included king cobras, spitting cobras, black and green mambas, pythons and rattlesnakes. A 14-foot Burmese python was the largest of the reptiles removed.
Police said the reptiles were found in tanks situated on racks.
“He was very meticulous, it seems, [in] the caretaking and keeping of the reptiles,” Harris said.
Charles County Animal Control coordinated with reptile experts from North Carolina and Virginia to assist in the “unusual” situation, Harris said. The snakes are being transferred to professional handlers in those states.
Harris said it is illegal in Maryland to possess venomous snakes.
The man lived alone at the single-family home, and neighbours said they “had no idea” dozens of snakes were inside, Harris said.
“The feedback we heard was he was very pleasant, nice, quiet,” Harris said. “A neighbourly guy.”
Harris said there was no evidence any snakes had escaped, and there is no cause for alarm or concern for the surrounding community.