About 50 reptiles, including venomous snakes, killed in a house fire on James Island. News 2 first brought you that story on Tuesday, but neighbors in that community have reached out with more questions. Specifically, did any of the snakes escape the fire and are they possibly loose in the neighborhood? And is it legal to own that many venomous snakes in one house in the state of South Carolina?
Snake experts say they are confident no animals escaped. Jessica Clamp, manager of the Edisto Serpentarium, was on the scene of Tuesday’s fire.
Clamp says, “I would be confident in saying we are 99.9% sure. There is always a possibility.”
She says they went into the garage with a list of every animal in the collection.
Clamp says, “We were able to go through and count specifically the snakes that we were able to pull out.”
And the snakes were stored securely.
She says, “It was too much fire for them to be able to get out and the aquariums that they were in. The damage that was done to those aquariums was simply glass cracking and being able to leak out of the water containers. Most of the snakes that we did find were still in the aquariums, and they had perished due to the heat, and the smoke inhalation.”
Surprisingly, four cottonmouth moccasins were found alive in the garage. They survived by sitting in a few inches of water. Those snakes are being cared for by the Edisto Serpentarium.
Clamp says, “They’re physically well, they didn’t receive any burns. They’re moving around and so it’s just kind of a waiting game to make sure the smoke inhalation doesn’t take its toll.”
Reptile experts say the homeowner was well within his rights to keep these animals in the house.
Clamp says, “In South Carolina there is no regulation for a person to own a reptile whether it be venomous or non venomous.”
And that means no limit on the amount they can own either. Clamp says the homeowner even kept first responders safe by warning the reptiles were in the garage.