TOKYO: Venomous lizards and snakes up to three metres (nine feet) long were among 80 reptiles police found crammed into a one-room apartment in Japan, an official said Tuesday. Officers were called by a frantic neighbour who saw a huge snake slithering along a wall outside the apartment in the western hub city of Osaka.

When police raided the apartment they found dozens of snakes, including a three-metre boa constrictor, as well as a number of lizards. All were being kept in individual containers in the 10-square-metre (108 square foot) room. Officers seized 25 of the creatures, which were being kept without the necessary permits, the official said. The owner, a man in his 40s, was not arrested, but the case was sent to the prosecutors’ office on suspicion he had violated the law on the welfare and management of animals, police said. “The man told us he kept them as pets and fed them on things like frozen mice. We are investigating where he obtained these reptiles,” the police official said.–AFP