Jeff and Jody Brooks of Maryland, USA, got the shock of their lives when they discovered they had to share their new dream home with more than a dozen black rat snakes.

They have now filed a $2m (£1.3m) lawsuit against the real estate agent who sold them the property and the former homeowner.

The family's lawyer, Matthew Evans, told ABC News that the couple's son found the first snake, a seven-foot-long reptile, just months after they moved in.

It was the first of many black rat snakes, nests and snake skins that the family found in their dream home, Evans said.

A pest control company found snake tunnels throughout the insulation in the basement, which was the children's playroom.

"As they pulled back the layers of the onion, it only got worse and worse," Evans noted. "It's so bad that the family was told the only way to guarantee that the snakes leave is to burn down the home and let it sit for 15 years."

After spending nearly $60,000 on pest control, the family hired Evans to file the lawsuit. Evans said the lawsuit covers the $410,000 price of the home, pest control costs and other related expenses, as well as $1m in punitive damages.