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Creepy, crawly back-seat crowd

You might say R. Kevin Temple's car had a bad rattle.

Temple was pulled over in a routine traffic stop. In the back seat deputies found 100 snakes, including 48 rattlers, and a variety of other dangerous creatures.

Temple, 35, who listed residences in Pasco County and Tucson, Ariz., was in jail Monday.

Levy County Drug Task Force members reported they stopped Temple about 10 p.m. Friday as his car weaved south on U.S. 19.

As a dog sniffed the trunk of the car for drugs, Temple said there was something they should know.

"He had his pets _ a live parrot and a few snakes," in the back seat, he told an officer.

"An understatement," said the officer.

In boxes and bags in the back seat were 48 rattlesnakes, including sidewinders, western diamondbacks, Mojaves and a black-tail; two poisonous night adders, which have fangs in the back of their mouths; a Gila monster; 45 non-poisonous snakes; 67 scorpions; several tarantulas; a number of small lizards; and a lilac-crowned parrot.

The state Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and U.S. Forest Service were called in to help identify and remove the creatures from the car.

Jim Ellis, the Forest Service district law enforcement officer for the Osceola National Forest and a snake expert, identified the rattlesnakes as being from Arizona and Texas.

He agreed to keep track of the animals seized from the car until a court decides their fate.

Temple was charged with four counts of illegal possession of wildlife and venomous reptiles.

He was being held in lieu of $2,500 bail in the Levy County Jail.

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