SAN ANTONIO – Animal Care Services has seized 136 pythons, some as long as 15 feet, from a Southeast Side home in the 500 block of Kayton.
Lisa Norwood, ACS spokeswoman, said they were smaller ball pythons, two reticulated pythons that are considered the world’s longest snakes. She said 29 snakes were inside the house with no utilities and in glass cages, and 107 others were in a padlocked metal shed in the backyard and were kept in plastic storage bins.
The snakes' food supply, mice and rats, were in other containers stacked on top of each other in the garage.
The warrant alleging animal cruelty obtained by ACS claims the snakes and rodents had no water and their enclosures were filthy.
According to ACS field supervisor Joel Skidmore, authorities were working with the owner of the property to give the animals more humane living conditions. After repeated efforts, Skidmore said officials obtained a warrant to take the feeder mice, rats and snakes.
Skidmore said the homeowner, who they are not naming, was a snake collector and breeder.
Skidmore said that although the mice are intended to be fed to the snakes, "you still have to maintain a state of good health and a state of well-being for them. They can’t live in the conditions we found them,” he said.
He said in his eight years with ACS, he's never seen this big a seizure of snakes.
Skidmore said in addition to the San Antonio Police Department's Dangerous Assessment Response Team, snake experts from the San Antonio Zoo and SeaWorld assisted at the scene.
ACS will then take in all of the snakes, but the owner must appear in municipal court within the next 10 days to try to get them back. If he fails, ACS does not put the snakes up for adoption, but it will find suitable places to house them, Norwood said.
While charges have not been filed against the homeowner, Skidmore said charges could be filed in the future. Code enforcement is also at the home conducting its own investigation.