The 9th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, has recruited their very own Steve Erwin. Standing 6-feet tall, weighing 189 pounds Spc. Matthew Williams seemingly can handle anything, even over 100 snakes slithering at his home.
Williams day to day job inside the military specializes in clearing routes of explosive obstacles while in a combative area. But when not occupied with the military he breeds and sells snakes across the country.
Williams dream job has always been to breed snakes for a living.
"My goal is to become a world reptile breeder stated Williams. "I want to produce one of the world's first genetic combinations, bringing two snakes together creating something that's never been done before."
Since the 7th grade he has always been infatuated with the misconception that all snakes are bad. Soon after, his hobby landing him with his first pair of reticulated pythons which he later named Joker and Harley. While most family pets are cats and dogs, Williams considers his snakes as family members and not just any pet. Under his supervision he even allows his three year old daughter to play with Daisy a seven-foot reticulated python.
Out of the top five largest constrictors in the world Williams own three, which are the African Rock Python, a Reticulated Python, and a Burmese Python.
"Every snake I own has an individual name continued Williams. "I strategically name them based upon its color and personality. "My favorite snake happens to be Vitani a yellow anaconda. "We have created a strong bond where I respect her and she respects me."
For five generations it's been a family tradition serving in the military. Williams was raised by his father 1st Sgt. Jason Williams who is currently stationed at Fort Drum. Before joining the military December of 2014, Williams worked as bagger at a local grocery store in his hometown Ocala FL. Barley making ends meet to support his hobby the transition into the military quickly allowed him to expand his collection.
Williams spends his free time traveling across the states attending conventions that educate others on the history of the snake species.
"I love teaching others and changing their opinions on snakes. Often times the lack of knowledge presents fear in humans about things they aren't necessarily comfortable with."
A lot of people assume all snakes are venomous, which is false. Out of the 3,400 snake species, there are around 600 venomous snake species in the world.
Did you know that you are nine times more likely to die from being struck by lightning than to die from a venomous snakebite?
Showing off and informing others his prized snake collection is just the beginning. Williams plans to expand his hobby and business by furthering his education towards a Bachelor's degree in herpetology.
Once achieved he plans to open his very own serpentarium where he will continue to educate and make snakes more commonly accepted.
For more information on Williams and his snake journey check out his facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/BAMEXOTCS/