Officials inspect home filled with snakes

COON RAPIDS, Minn. -- A Coon Rapids home containing hundreds of snakes passed a compliance check Wednesday, according to city officials.

In 2011, authorities began investigating the house, located on the 10000 block of Grouse Street, after neighbors complained about a foul smell coming from the yard.

Upon inspection, officials found the home contained approximately 300 snakes, including boas and pythons, which are prohibited because they are constrictor snakes.

City officials say the home passed Wednesday's compliance check because the prohibited snakes had been removed.

Homeowner Scott Nellis says his passion for snakes started when he was about nine years old. Then, he would often see snakes in the grass walking home from school in Oklahoma.

"They are calming. I like to hold them and have them glide through my hands. I like all of the different color and pattern variations," Nellis said. "I like to watch their behavior as they crawl around the cage. Some people like aquarium fish. It is kind of the same thing with snakes."

Chuck Jacobson has lived in the neighborhood since 1982. He said the snakes haven't been a major problem for him because he lives a few doors down. Yet, he has some concerns.

"I am only concerned about what would happened if a tornado came through here. Who is gonna collect them?" he said. "There are a lot of kids around here and stuff. If they should ever get out, you don't want that to be happening to little kids in the area."

Nellis currently has about 200 snakes, and dozens of rodents to feed them. City officials say there is no limit to the number of snakes a homeowner can have. They also say Nellis can continue operating his home-based snake breeding business as long as "the use is secondary and not the primary use of the home."

"They don't bother anybody, they're contained in secure cages, in secure rooms, in my secure home. They can't escape, they can't get out, they can't harm the public," said Nellis.


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