South California police found at least 350 dead pythons infested with rats and mice at an elementary school teacher's house, Wednesday.
Neighbors of 53-year-old William Buchman in the Orange County city of Santa Ana complained to police about the stench around five months back. They said they could smell the stink even from 300 feet away, reports, Los Angeles.
Buchman, who teaches in Newport Beach, was booked for animal cruelty. "House of Horrors: That's the best way to describe it," Sondra Berg, supervisor for the Santa Ana Police Department's Animal Services Division, told the Associated Press after coming out of Buchman's five-bedroom house.
"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 in plastic storage tubs that are actually cannibalizing each other," Berg said.
Reports say that except two snakes all the snakes were dead and rotting in the house. It was also filled with garbage and feces from mice and rats. The backyard was full of trash. "The smell is ungodly," police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told Orange County Register.
According the police authorities, Buchman told them that he was breeding the snakes to get various skin colors and patterns when snakes shed, which is also known as 'morphing.' Such activity was popular around 10 years back and fetched $1,500 but now the skins are sold for about $200 as the market is overflowing, Berg told the Register.
Buchman was depressed by his mother's death who died three years back. This might have worsened the problems that led him to neglect the snakes.