Man Attacks Snake Display in NMNH

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On April 4, 1969, Lampros Marines attacked the Malayan display in the Reptiles Exhibit of the National Museum of Natural History. Marines smashed through the glass exhibit case with a hatchet and then used a butcher knife to decapitate the reticulated python and king cobra and stab the Komodo dragon. He was apprehended by chief of the museum's guard force, Captain Wilfred L'Abbe, who noted a report that Marines had previously attempted to injure a large snake on display in January 1968. In the 1969 incident, Marines was charged with damage to government property and held on $5000 bond.


  • Marines, Lampros
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Office of Protective Services
  • Washington Post


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • "Man Assaults Snakes in MNH Reptile Exhibit," by James A. Peters, in the Smithsonian "Torch," April 1969, pgs. 2 and 4.
  • "Man Held in Museum Fracas," Washington Post, Times Herald April 6, 1969, Page 10.
  • Adele Conover, "The Object at Hand," Smithsonian Magazine, June 1995.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


April 4, 1969


  • Reticulated python
  • Reptiles
  • King cobra
  • Museums
  • Security
  • Snakes
  • Cobras
  • Animals
  • Weapons
  • Crime
  • Newspapers
  • Exhibitions
  • Komodo dragon
  • Museum exhibits


Washington (D.C.)


Photographic print

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