Charles County

Maryland Man Found in Home With 100+ Snakes Died of Snake Bite

When deputies arrived at the home in Pomfret, Maryland, they found a man unresponsive and a house full of snakes

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A man found dead in a home with more than 100 snakes — some venomous and illegal — earlier this year in Charles County, Maryland, died of a snake bite, officials have determined. 

The man, a 49-year-old whose name was not released, died of “snake envenomation,” the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled, News4 learned Wednesday. His death was accidental. Officials previously said it was too early to determine whether the snakes played a role in the man's death.

The victim was found on Jan. 19 in his home in Pomfret, as News4 reported. The snakes were all in cages when sheriff’s deputies arrived, officials said.

A neighbor on Raphael Drive noticed he hadn’t seen the man in about a day, county spokeswoman Jennifer Harris previously said. The neighbor went to the door and was able to see through a window that the man had fallen. He called 911 for help.

When deputies arrived, they found the man unresponsive and the house full of 124 snakes, including a 14-foot-long Burmese python.

Animal control officials responded and began to examine the huge snake collection, Harris said.

“Our chief animal control officer said in his more than 30 years of experience, he had not encountered this kind of thing before," she said.

The collection included venomous snakes that are illegal to keep in Maryland, Harris said. The breeds found included pythons, rattlesnakes, cobras and black mambas, Harris said. 

Charles County animal control officials were able to isolate the non-venomous snakes. They brought in experts to handle the venomous snakes. 

A crew spent hours getting the snakes out after the late man’s mother gave permission for them to be taken away. A man could be seen hauling a huge yellow snake out of the house in a clear plastic bin.

The non-venomous snakes were set to be taken to Virginia by a licensed handler; the venomous snakes were headed to North Carolina with a second licensed handler. The handlers had to warm up their cars for about a half-hour to make them warm enough to safely transport the reptiles. 

The snakes appeared to have been cared for meticulously, the county spokeswoman said. Officials said they believed every snake was accounted for.

“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 said.

Officials said they did not believe the snakes to pose a risk to the public. If one were to escape, it was not believed to be able to survive the cold weather.

In an unrelated case in December in Montgomery County, Maryland, a homeowner burned down their house while trying to chase off snakes, officials said. The Poolesville resident tried to use smoke to fight a snake infestation and accidentally started a huge fire, the county fire department said. No one was hurt but the fire caused over $1 million in damage. “Status of snakes undetermined,” a spokesman added. 

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