HOUSTON – Inside a small pink house in the Houston Heights, a county constable has seized a strange collection of household pets – more than a dozen dangerous pythons and boa constrictors, some of them 15 to 20 feet long.
The woman living in the house started keeping constricting snakes about 15 years ago, when a former boyfriend convinced her she might make money breeding the unusual animals, authorities said.
“The animals were in bad shape,” said Alan Rosen, the Harris County Constable whose officers seized the snakes. “One of them has a broken back that she has to actually put around her stomach in order for the snake to use the restroom properly.”
The owner kept almost all of the snakes in a bedroom of the house located in the 700 block of 21st Street, an area where mostly older homes sit near car lots and industrial businesses.
Most of the snakes were kept in containers too small to allow them to stretch out, authorities said. Houston Zoo experts called to help with the unusual seizure told law enforcement authorities such large snakes need to extend themselves. Houston SPCA officials had to build special containers to house the unusually large animals.
“The owner’s visibly upset,” Rosen said. “She’s trying everything she could to take care of these animals, but clearly she’s not able to.”
SPCA workers carried the snakes out of the house in cages and plastic containers resembling garbage cans. One of them was considered so dangerous workers wouldn’t open the container for news photographers gathered outside the home.
“A snake is a wild animal,” said Christine Kendrick with the constable’s office. “And so under the right circumstances, any of them could be dangerous, especially these large ones. I believe they could be capable of killing a person.”
“God forbid a child were to wander into that house and one of these snakes were out,” Rosen said.
This type of snake typically eats small animals like rabbits, but it wasn’t clear how the owner fed them.
Constable’s office authorities said the owner didn’t appear to have deliberately mistreated the snakes, so it’s unlikely she’ll face any criminal charges.