Early this year when a man in Pomfret, Maryland, realized he hadn’t seen his neighbor the day before, he went over just to make sure things were OK. When he looked through a window, he saw the man had collapsed.
First responders arrived, entered the house and pronounced the 49-year-old man dead — and they were greeted by a rather unusual collection.
The house didn’t have much furniture, but it did contain 124 snakes.
Pythons, rattlesnakes, cobras, black mambas and more — and not all of them were legal. One Burmese python was 14 feet long.
“Our chief animal control officer said in his more than 30 years of experience, he had not encountered this kind of thing before,” county spokeswoman Jennifer Harris said, according to WRC-TV.
The man seemed to be an experienced snake owner.
“They were all very properly secured,” Harris said. “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.”
No snakes were found loose, so what had caused the man’s death?
Snakes are now being unloaded in containers from the Maryland home where a man was found dead last night. @SegravesNBC4 has the latest minutes away on @nbcwashington https://t.co/MbLLdHHnCO https://t.co/qnZaMAgzV4 pic.twitter.com/N9qlg1HCTv
— Tom Lynch (@TomLynch_) January 20, 2022
“Charles County Sheriff’s detectives are conducting an investigation into the death of the man,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook at the time.
“There were no obvious signs of foul play and the decedent was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.”
While the potential cause of death seemed pretty obvious to some, it took the Maryland medical examiner to determine that the man had, indeed, died of accidental “snake envenomation,” according to WRC.
UPDATE: Man found dead in Charles County home in January with more than 100 exotic snakes died from a snake bite. Maryland Medical Examiner just ruled death accidental. Cause was snake envenomation. @nbcwashington https://t.co/k2iunqS7IG
— Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) April 13, 2022
Charles County Animal Control rounded up the harmless snakes but left the more dangerous specimens to the experts.
The man’s mother approved the removal of the snakes — perhaps she did not share her son’s fascination with reptiles — and the snakes were taken to two new homes.
All the harmless snakes went to a licensed handler in Virginia and the venomous ones to a licensed handler in North Carolina.