A Maryland man found dead with more than 100 snakes inside his home in January died of “snake envenomation,” officials said Wednesday.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland confirmed that David Riston, 49, of Pomfret, was surrounded by 124 venomous and nonvenomous snakes when he was found unconscious in his home, WUSA-TV reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the Charles County Sheriff’s Department said.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Riston held a valid captive reptile and amphibian permit in Maryland, WJLA-TV reported. However, venomous snakes may not be possessed as pets with this type of permit.
Jennifer Harris, a spokesperson for Charles County, said the snakes were taken care of properly.
“Our chief animal control officer said in his more than 30 years of experience, he had not encountered this kind of thing before,” Harris told WRC in January. “They (snakes) were all very properly secured. They were racked. He did not keep a lot of furniture inside the home, so there was no place if a snake, for example, were to escape, where it could hide or harm anybody.”
Among the snakes found was a spitting cobra, which can spit venom up to 10 feet, WJLA reported.
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