UK & World News

  • 30 January 2014, 9:51

Hundreds Of Snakes Found In 'House Of Horrors'

Hundreds of snakes - many of them dead - have been removed from a "house of horrors" in California after neighbours complained of a strong stench of decay.

"The smell alone - I feel like I need to take a shower for a week," said officer Anthony Bertagna.

"They're pretty much in all the bedrooms - everywhere."

Police have said they expect to find as many as 500 snakes, alive and dead, by the time they complete the search of the five-bedroom home in Santa Ana.

The owner, school teacher William Buchman, claimed his intention was to breed the snakes but his collection grew out of hand.

He has been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty.

"It's definitely a house of horrors in there," said an Animal Services spokesman. "Just in one room alone we had 56 dead snakes, and 12 alive, and that's only one room.

 "I mean there's so many dead snakes ... ranging from dead for months to just dead.

"There's an infestation of rats and mice all over the house. There are rats and mice in plastic storage tubs that are actually cannibalising each other."

After clearing out two of the bedrooms, officers had recovered 66 dead pythons and about 50 live ones.

The largest live python recovered was about 6ft long.

None of the snakes were crawling around loose but the house also was infested with rats and mice, some of which were brought in as food for the snakes.

The exterior of the house was well maintained with a manicured lawn - with only the smell giving away what was inside.

An animal welfare agency will try to re-home the surviving snakes at nature centres, museums and schools.

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