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Teacher kept 400 snakes in his home

A schoolteacher was arrested after hundreds of living and dead pythons in plastic bins were found stacked floor to ceiling inside his stench-filled suburban home.

As investigators wearing respirator masks (pictured) carried the reptiles out of the house, reporters and passers-by gagged at the smell.

"The smell alone – I feel like I need to take a shower for a week," said police Cpl Anthony Bertagna. "They're pretty much in all the bedrooms – everywhere."


Officers said they found more than 400 snakes – at least 220 of them dead – as well as mice and rats, in the California home of William Buchman (53) after neighbours complained about the smell. He was arrested for investigation of neglect in the care of animals.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District, where Buchman works, did not comment.

Neighbours said he lived alone, his mother having died in the past few years.

Sondra Berg, the supervisor for the Santa Ana Police Department's Animal Services Division, said "House of Horrors: That's the best way to describe it. 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 cannibalising each other."