OAK PARK HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — It sounds like a scene out of a horror movie: A Minnesota mom and her kids unsuspectingly move into a house full of snakes.
While it may sound hard to believe, it’s the frightening reality for a family left with few options after buying what they once considered the perfect home.
Like a couple of crime scene investigators, they treat the property like a puzzle, piecing together a homeowner’s worst nightmare.
“Typically, you’ll find them along the siding,” one pest control worker from Adam’s Pest Control said.
“That’s an access point for them to go ahead and get up,” another said.
When WCCO’s cameras visited, the pest control guys pulled five from hiding in less than an hour.
But the recent finds doesn’t truly tell the hell Angie Whitley has been living through.
“I hate that she’s going through this,” Mark Anderson, with Adam’s Pest Control, said.
The evidence of that is in her basement, which is now torn apart and littered with snake traps.
As a nurse and a single mom, Whitley spent years renting a townhouse in order to save enough for a down payment for new start.
“It was clean, new carpet, new paint,” she said.
The split level home in Oak Park Heights seemed like the perfect neighborhood for her two kids to grow up in.
Several walk-throughs and an inspection of the house yielded no trouble, but 45 minutes after closing on that October day, plenty of it slithered in.
“I brought my first sort of box here to my bedroom and I found a snake,” Whitley said.
“One quickly turned into 3,4,5. Today is 6 months later and I’m about 95 snakes that I’ve found inside my house,” Whitley said.
That’s 95 inside and a few hundred more outside.
“In the snake world, this is up there,” Anderson said.
Whitley knows a garter snake den is somewhere under her property which sits close to a marsh.
“Water creates a big boyd that’s where the foundation of her house is,”Anderson said.
It’s the perfect location for a reptile attracted to heat and to each other.
Whitley went back to the sellers who said they knew nothing. They’d rented the house out for the last six years.
“From what I’ve heard from the experts who have come out, they tell me that there’s no way this just started,” Whitley said.
So, Whitley has spent more than $13,000 herself trying to rid her family of the problem.
Ripping up her finished basement to tightly seal off any potential cracks and pumping out 40 gallons of water from a large hole she found in the foundation.
“We really thought that that was the problem,” she said.
Still, the spring has brought the snakes back.
Adam’s Pest Control has now donated their services to try to locate the snake den. While Whitley now sleeps upstairs on the couch and stays out of the basement.
The previous owners of the home did not return WCCO’s calls for comment.
Whitley has a lawyer and will likely enter into arbitration with them. An arbitrator will determine if fraud occurred and who covers the costs. Homeowners usually have two years to do so after a sale occurs.