Snakes on the Plain: Infested Home Still Seeks Buyer

snakes infestedWe heard of the homes infested with bedbugs, ghostly apparitions, as well as those overrun with mold. But one home for sale in Idaho is said to have thousands of slithering snakes living sandwiched between the walls and the siding, making noises in the soffits, and resting in the crawl space. The infestation is so bad -- as if we need to say more -- that two previous homeowners walked away, leaving the bank left to deal with the scaly reptiles.

But, hey, if you like snakes, whether as a pet, as a belt, or as a hearty springtime bowl of snake soup, the five-bedroom, one-bath home can be yours at a deep discount. Chase Bank, which owns the Salem, Idaho, home after the last owners, Amber and Ben Sessions, defaulted, is asking $109,200, about $66,000 less than it is estimated to be worth sans snakes.

Yes, the home is actually for sale -- with full disclosure. But don't go looking for the listing on the MLS. The bank yanked it, presumably after the home-turned-snake-den was getting too much publicity after a local news broadcast caught the eye of Animal Planet, which in January told the family's story on the show, Infested.


The listing agent, Todd Davis of Realty Quest, had granted several media interviews after the home went on the market Dec. 6, but by Jan. 27, the listing was pulled, and the broker was told to refer all calls about the home to a Chase Bank representative.

A spokesperson for Chase named Darcy confirmed today to AOL Real Estate that it is still looking Search Homes for Sale See photos of homes for sale in your area and across the country on AOL Real Estate for a buyer. Beyond that, she said she had no additional information about the 2,506-square-foot home. Our attempts to reach the Sessions went unacknowledged -- perhaps Chase also put the kabosh on their freedom of speech, or they just haven't yet had time to respond. Well, the curious need not worry, we have the scoop anyway.

The Sessionses purchased the 2006-rebuilt home out of foreclosure for $175,000 in late summer 2009. Under two owners before, a 1920s home had burned down and this one was built from its frame. It's during that construction that some think the snakes roamed in.

Although the Sessions had heard what they thought were rumors about snake roommates, they told local NBC affiliate, KPVI News 6, they never received confirmation. When they and their children moved in in August, all was well for two weeks.

"From there on out, we killed or caught about 40 of them," Ben Sessions said. "We started seeing tracks under the crawl space underneath our house which isn't very big and not very accessible." And when he went to tap the soffit overhang on the house, "you could hear [snake] scales going every which way. It kept getting more and more disturbing, when we were asleep at night, oh my word, we could hear them in the walls."

But it was more than just noise. They felt their health was at risk from these otherwise harmless garter snakes. "I had dealt and smelt enough snakes by then that the water tasted just like the snakes taste," the now-father of three said. "We had a newborn coming to us in a few months, so we just had to get out of there."

Located in a rural area outside of the town of Rexburg on almost 1.75 acres, the main level of the home has a family room with a propane fireplace, a kitchen with a center island, three bedrooms and a full bath. Another two bedrooms on the upper level have access to a three-quarter bath, and a spacious family room. There's also a two-car attached garage with side entry. (Pictures below.)

"I've been in it several times and I've never seen any snakes in it, but I've seen pictures," Tony Stallings, an area agent who has not had any involvement with the sale of the home, told AOL Real Estate. "Most agents have not seen anything there."

Snakes come out more at night, which could be part of the reason others have not witnessed them. But also, according to snake experts, late August through early October are when little garter snake babies are born, which could be why the Sessions heard more of a rumbling that time of year. The average litter size is about 23, with some live litters recorded as high as 60 and 85 offspring ranging in size from about five inches to nine inches.

Also, snakes hibernate in their den in the colder months. Unfortunately though for the home at 675 W 5000 North, that snake den is believed to be under the home.

It is not uncommon for people to see snakes in and around their home, especially if a snake den is nearby. A prior set of owners, the Ards, who purchased the home for $190,000, caught them on their patio, under the side of the house, and slithering up the exterior, and then put them in buckets to prove they existed, as seen in this YouTube video.

Although some people think the home should be torn down, Stallings, who has never shown the home to any prospective buyers, told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview, "I wouldn't tear it down. There is probably someone who would buy it, so long as they are well aware of the issue there. Some people love snakes." (And don't forget that big bowl of snake soup. I hear it tastes just like egg drop soup, just chunkier.)

He said if he had the listing, he'd keep making price reductions until there was a bite. Um, a purchase offer.








Sheree R. Curry
, who keeps a fairly kosher home and thus has never had snake soup, is a three-time award-winning journalist who has covered real estate for six years. During her 20-year career, her articles have appeared regularly in the
Wall Street Journal, TV Week, and Fortune. She's been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009 from a Minneapolis-area rental. She seeks a book publisher -- or at least a lender who'll give a reasonable mortgage rate to a self-employed mom.
These AOL Real Estate guides can help, whether you're in the market to buy, rent or sell:

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coptazlou

There is a product called Snake a way, they may try it. Or call that show with the exterminator that dreeses funny, I cannot think of the name right now but he wears punk rock clothing

June 20 2011 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ourgordianknot

These are a western species of garter snake which like to den communally, perfectly harmless. I played with wild eastern ones as a child and still catch them when mowing the lawn. A newborn baby would be safe with an adult garter next to it. The primary issue is the fact a wintering den is located beneath the home and the couple fears the snakes' droppings maybe tainting their home. The question is: Was this patch a snake den prior to the building of a home? If so the snakes are only following memory of their own den, however from the look of that bare land most likely they are attracted to the home because it offers warmth during the winter; after all they are reptiles. No need to move, simply caulk any hole bigger than a pencil eraser and fine mesh screen areas that can't be caulked. Personally, I'd enjoy having them under and around my home. Garter snakes are predators of slugs, worms, large insects, small mice and the like and are great friend of a gardener.

June 20 2011 at 6:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Tony Montana

I lived in a house in West Phoenix that had a Scorpion problem. I caught around 40 scorpions in a 9 month period and a half dozen Black Widow spiders. We'd find Scorpions everywhere, in the bed, bathroom, on the floors, climbing the walls. It was crazy. Way more scary then Garter Snakes.

June 20 2011 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sbrewton9

We had snakes in our drop ceiling in the basement. It is the creepiest sound ever when they are moving around. Turns out they were getting into the house via a crawl space by the basement. We had to end up gutting the ceiling to make sure we got them all and seal off the crawl space opening. Oh, and these weren't little garter snakes. These were 5-6' black snakes. Still relatively harmless but unwelcome just the same. I will never forget the sound of them moving around in the ceiling...never.

June 20 2011 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
qapla5

Must be a LOT of land that goes along with the house, because the house alone isn't worth $100K (even at a discount), not even for 5 bedrooms. And only ONE bath? And someone actually paid $175K for it? Those folks deserved the snakes. If you're going to pay that much for a NEW house, it better be COMPLETELY from scratch--no reusing of the "old frame." Really. You're building a new house where a previous one had burned down, but still using the old frame?

June 20 2011 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SurvivorJ

I'd like to see that stupid as-- realtor live in that house for a year with his wife and kids and the snakes...
Then see if he still feels the same about not tearing down the house or at least fumigatig it... I believe this should fall under full disclosure and the couple should get their money back. Some snakes attract other snakes. Here in Florida a couple was charged with 2nd degree murder of their precious child because of their love for snakes. They didn't know snakes could kill infants.
The couple did the right thing!!!

June 20 2011 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
landjsimmonds

Wow, with all those garter snakes they should keep down the bug, insect & mice problem!

June 20 2011 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
accutronfork

Sell it and throw in a mongoose. Problem solved!

June 20 2011 at 11:06 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to accutronfork's comment
jgallenpark

Matbe then there will be a mongoose problem?

June 20 2011 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jgallenpark's comment
Christopher

Then send in deadlier snakes to take care of the mongoose problem . . . . . .

Oh, wait.

June 20 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down