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Official Cause of Death Finally Determined

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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.


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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?

“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.


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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.

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

Western Journal

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