The man, whose name was not immediately released, was found dead Wednesday by deputies in his house in Pomfret, about 30 miles south of Washington D.C. – after a neighbor saw him lying on the floor unconscious and called 911, the Charles County Sheriff’s Department said.
When authorities entered the home, they discovered a collection of 124 live snakes, some of which were venomous and illegal in the state, Washington’s WRC-TV reported. The snakes, which were in cages and “meticulously” cared for, included cobras, black mambas, pythons, and rattlesnakes, officials said.
“Our chief animal control officer said in his more than 30 years of experience, he had not encountered this kind of thing before,” said Jennifer Harris, a Charles County spokeswoman.
It was unclear why the man had so many snakes, but he was taking good care of them, according to animal control officials. The reptiles were kept at a temperature and humidity as close as possible to their natural habitat, FOX 5 D.C. reported.
On Thursday, a crew spend hours working to get the snakes out, and experts were brought in from North Carolina and Virginia to handle the venomous ones, reports said.
Animal control officials noted there was no threat to public safety, and that no snakes had escaped, FOX 5 reported.
“They were all very properly secured. They were racked. He did not keep a lot of furniture inside the home, so there was no place if a snake, for example, were to escape, where it could hide or harm anybody,” Harris added, according to WRC-TV.
Neighbors were apparently unaware the man was keeping snakes inside the home. They described him as a “great guy,” officials said.
“Neighbors really take care of each other, help each other out, and I was asked by neighbors to share that the resident was a great guy, really kept an eye on each other,” said Doria Fleisher, a Charles County community engagement coordinator and neighbor. “Everybody helped with each other’s houses out of town. Nobody had any idea that this was going to be an issue. They were not aware that there were snakes in the house.”
A medical examiner will determine the man’s cause of death, which will be released in a few weeks. There were no “obvious” signs of foul play, authorities said.
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