Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?

Too many snakes, a messed up owner, and a HORRID smell. Police finally raid a house and find a disaster.

‘House of horrors’ loaded with live, dead pythons.

The smell wafting from the house was bad, to put it mildly. It was the result of more than 200 dead pythons, 200 still-living snakes, and a rodent infestation.

“House of Horrors: That’s the best way to describe it,” said Sondra Berg, supervisor for the Santa Ana Police Department’s Animal Services Division after coming out of the five-bedroom Orange County home of elementary school teacher William Buchman.

Buchman, 53, was arrested for investigation of neglect in the care of animals, police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said, and remained in police custody late Wednesday.

There were more than 400 snakes in all — 180 live ones and at least 220 dead ones.

Some of the snakes were little more than skeletons. Others, only recently dead, were covered with flies and maggots.

The stench got so bad that some months earlier neighbors thought there was a dead person in the house. The man used to be on good terms with his neighbors but appeared to experience mental trauma after his mother passed. He had been breeding the snakes but they had been neglected over the past year, many resorting to cannibalism.

  6 comments for “Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?

  1. January 30, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    And I thought they smelled bad on the outside!

  2. January 30, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    My brother’s snake shat on me once. That stinks something awful. I cannot imagine what that house must have been like…

  3. HeatherTwist
    January 30, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    Yech. I have owned a couple of snakes, but I had no idea how bad their poop smelled … even alive and healthy. And mind you, at that point in my life I’d kept rodents, lizards, and a variety of other creatures, so I wasn’t squeamish. I gave the snakes away after a couple of feedings. They were a lot of fun for Halloween though. If you can borrow a snake and hold it on one wrist while you give candy away with the other hand … 🙂 Oddly the little kids loved it and thought it was pretty, but the adults and teens wouldn’t come anywhere near once they figured out it was REAL.

  4. Bob Jase
    January 31, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Yep, liquifaction stinks. I’ll admit the rodent infestation is a surprise, I’d think that many hungr snakes would prevent that.

  5. January 31, 2014 at 9:13 AM


  6. Peebs
    January 31, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Liquifaction is a forensic term.

    As bodies decompose bacterial action renders soft tissue into a foul liquid.

    If you’ve ever seen pictures of a body which has been left undiscovered invariably there is a huge stain surrounding it.

    That’s Liquifaction.

    I had no idea snake shit smelled so bad though!

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