Venomous snake owner rattled that authorities seized 157 reptiles from homePosted: Updated:
Dozens of venomous snakes were seized from a home in Orange County after a bite from one of them sent the owner to the hospital.
A total of 157 venomous snakes were found inside the basement of 82 Maple St. in Newburgh after an Asian pit viper bit its owner, Darren Paolini.
News 12 caught up with Paolini at his home on Wednesday after he was hospitalized overnight on Sunday and given five doses of anti-venom.
Department of Conservation officials say the incident was red-flagged by medical staff. By Tuesday, the reptiles, which are illegal to possess in New York state, were seized and taken to the Bronx Zoo.
“I've studied Asian pit vipers for the last 30 years of my life. It's been a passion of mine and I've become a world-renowned expert at what I do,” said Paolini.
Paolini wouldn't say what other kind of snakes he may have had. According to an online search, the Asian pit viper is considered one of the most toxic snakes in northern China.
Paolini claims he had permits for the reptiles in 2005 and thought he was grandfathered in after the law changed.
"It's just been a love in my life. A passion since a young child,” he says.
Paolini says he's hiring an attorney to try to get his snakes back. He says it wasn't the first time he was bitten and that 'he's fine.'
No charges have been filed against Paolini. The DEC says the incident is still under investigation.