SWEENY, Texas - An 80-acre property in Sweeny provides an ideal country setting for Lee and Leslie Hubbard and their family. Lots of pets, lots of land -- and lots of snakes.
The home has been overrun with copperheads since they bought it eight years ago. They killed about a hundred a year until they called the state and then Kris Swanson, a snake expert with Katy Snakes.
"It was a huge situation," said Swanson. "We caught 33 snakes that night. They were all over the place."
Swanson and his team have caught nearly 200 of the snakes in just the past year, usually when they make their nightly hunts. The snakes are looking for food. Swanson and his crew are looking for the snakes.
What Swanson and his crew have done in that time is collected the snakes and sent them to research facilities that use their venom for cancer research.
It's a project that's become near and dear to Lee Hubbard's heart.
"We were supposed to come out on a Friday the first time," said Swanson. "We ended up being delayed by a day because he was burying his aunt, who had just died from breast cancer the day before. When he found out that we were out here to collect these snakes to try to use them for cancer research, it changed their whole outlook on it."
It changed the Hubbards' outlook so much that they plan to turn part of their property into a conservation area so people can view the creatures in their natural habitat. They're hoping to open up the eco-tourist venture by sometime next summer.
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