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Family's Purchase of 'Snake House' Leads to Foreclosure, Bankruptcy and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

And now for a story that nearly caused my snake-hating wife to have a breakdown.

The Associated Press reported earlier this week on the plight of the Sessions family, who in 2009 purchased a five-bedroom house in the Idaho countryside for about $180,000. They were required to sign a document at closing acknowledging that the house had a snake infestation, but were "assured by their real estate agent that the snakes were just a story invented by the previous owners to leave their mortgage behind."

Wrong! It turns out that the house is, as advertised, infested with hundreds of garter snakes. How bad could it be, you ask? Here are some of the slithery details from the AP article:

  • The ground surrounding the home was so thick with snakes it "appeared to move at times."
  • Many snakes lived beneath the home's siding, and at night the family could hear the snakes slithering inside the walls.
  • The house's well water had a foul musk smell caused by the chemical that snakes release as a warning to predators.
  • To protect his pregnant wife and two small boys, Mr. Sessions conducted a "morning sweep" each day inside the house to make sure none of the snakes had made it inside.
  • At the height of the infestation, Sessions killed 42 snakes in one day. That was the day he decided that the snakes had won, and the family fled the home.

The house was foreclosed on, the Sessions have now filed for bankruptcy, and Mr. Sessions has been diagnosed with "snake-related post-traumatic stress disorder."

Several months ago, the house briefly went back on the market. The house, now owned by JP Morgan Chase, was put back on the market briefly until it was featured on the Discovery Channel's "Animal Planet" as part of its "Infested" series. The house is now off the market, and Chase has reportedly contracted to have the snakes "trapped and released elsewhere" (not in my backyard, please).

Here is a video from KPVI News that shows the situation at the house when it occupied by a prior owner.

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 17, 2011 at 04:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)


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