AMES, Iowa — The door to the small room at the back of Kyle Thompson’s basement is locked. A sign on the door warns visitors what’s inside — snakes, more than 40 of them.

Stepping inside, the eye is automatically drawn to three massive Burmese pythons in long enclosures with clear fronts. They’re not hissing. Or writhing. Just sleeping.

Once you get past the size of the pythons, you start to realize how normal the room is. Except for the enclosures for the big three, it looks like any other a storage room with shelves stacked high with containers that resemble Tupperware.