The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife said an Oklahoma City man’s property was home to about 160 different species of reptiles, including an alligator. Now the animal’s owner is facing wildlife charges, according to court records.
Investigators said it started when an Oklahoma City water resources crew went to his home in the 1900 block of S. High Avenue thinking they had a water main break. Turns out, it was the owner filling a pond on his property, authorities said.
But from Bob Mills SkyNews 9, you can see several structures, cages, and a moat at the address, evidence of the resident’s unique hobby.
“Some folks play tennis and golf and he collects reptiles,” Bryan Wilkerson with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife said.
Wilkerson said 62-year-old Lawrence Christopher Curtis's hobby is regulated in Oklahoma. And he is accused of several violations.
Court filings showed Curtis had a young American alligator, alligator snapping turtles and a Texas horned lizard -- all illegal in the state. The photos used in this story are stock images of the same type of reptiles.
Law enforcement spent several hours at the home Tuesday, taking the animals, which are now in a Norman facility. But they said they left behind the 60-70 species of extremely poisonous snakes.
The snakes will be under Curtis's care while the legal issues are resolved, under lock and key inside the building, according to Wilkerson.
“These are all exotics from South America, Africa. There was one anaconda there that was 15 feet long and he weighed 165 pounds,” Wilkerson said.
Investigators estimated Curtis poured roughly $150,000 into his collection. And they said he should've known he was breaking the rules.
The search warrant reported marijuana was also in plain site on the property.
Online court records said he faces four wildlife charges and his next court date is scheduled for January.