RALEIGH -- The snakes arrived just after midnight -- cobras, vipers, copperheads and asps, some frozen solid, some still wriggling.
They came loaded in the back of two Chevy Suburbans, packed inside plastic tubs, no-doubt bewildered after a six-hour ride to Raleigh in the dark.
All 154 of these beasts, which also included several Gila monsters, had been pets packed inside a singlewide mobile home in Henderson County, more than half of them dead in the freezer, the rest slithering in conditions the sheriff described only as "haphazard."
Now they sit quarantined in a secret location, herpetologists peering down at them, trying to catalog the largest collection of confiscated reptiles ever to land at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.
For a week now, the state has buzzed with news of these seized snakes, a story that still brings more questions than answers. The big ones:
Why would anyone - especially anyone living in a trailer - want 60 live reptiles for companions, all but nine of them venomous? Seriously, five live Gila monsters?
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