A 49-year-old man, David Riston, He died at his home in Charles County, Maryland, where he lived with at least 124 different species of snakes. According to The Independent, the man kept the reptiles in metal shelves in drawers.
Some of the snakes found in Maryland include mountain snakes, rattlesnakes, cobras and black mambas. Police have launched an investigation into the death of the man, but do not believe it was a homicide.
David Riston was found dead Wednesday night at his Pomfred home, surrounded by animals in his cage, some of which are so dangerous that it is illegal to keep them as pets in the United States. It is not yet clear how he died, and investigators have not yet said if one of the snakes killed Riston. Representatives from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office were called to the home at Block 5500 Rafael Drive in Bamfred at 6pm on Wednesday night, after receiving an emergency service call from a neighbor, who said he went to see the homeowner. From the previous day, I had seen him through the window lying on the floor.
Riston, who is said to have lived alone, had a valid permit to possess snakes and reptiles, but possession of venomous snakes is illegal under Maryland law. Two drops of the fast-acting venom of a black mamba can paralyze the nervous system and kill a human by causing a stroke. The spitting cobra sprays venom from its fangs at a distance of 10 feet into the victim’s eyes causing blindness. It is illegal to keep both species of pets in the United States. All the snakes in Riston’s house are said to have been well maintained by their owner. Panicked neighbors have been reassured that if any of the other snakes escaped, the cold winter would kill them before they could go far.
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