Renaissance man


January 21, 2014

It’s no surprise Craig Morton ended up in the pest management business. Morton learned from his father, who runs his own pest management business, Morton’s Urban Pest Management Company, based in Napa County, Calif. But because of the small size of the operation, Morton joined McCauley Brothers, which was purchased by Antimite Termite & Pest Services,
a subsidiary of ServiceMaster.

While pest management might be the family trade, Morton’s heart lies elsewhere. “Irish blood flows through my veins, and I have a Celtic heart that beats a jig,” he says.

It began about seven years ago when Morton went to a Celtic festival where he heard and fell in love with the music of the San Francisco-based band, Culann’s Hounds. He became friends with the band and has served as a roadie and sold merchandise for them throughout the years. He’s even dabbled in the bodhran, a type of Irish drum. Mortan says it’s the music and musicians that have drawn him deeper into his Irish heritage.

The charm of snakes
Morton also rescues and breeds different colored ball pythons, which also have different patterns. Breeding them creates new colors and patterns, which Morton sells to other snake enthusiasts.

“You can mix and match and breed amazing color patterns,” he says.

Morton has about 40 snakes that bore offspring once a year. Each female averages four to six young, although Morton’s snakes average between seven and nine young.

Every so often, Morton had deliveries sent to the office instead of his home because he wanted to make sure someone would be available to receive the package. That didn’t sit well with one coworker who wanted to head home whenever one of his packages was delivered.

Occasionally, at the end of a day of fighting pests, Morton heads to the local pet store to pick up food for his reptiles where he receives odd stares from other customers. Still wearing his uniform, Morton usually looks at them, bag of rats in hand, and says, “What? I’m drumming up business.”

Morton occasionally receives calls from customers to retrieve escaped snakes. He keeps the necessary tools in his truck, but unless the call comes from nearby or the snake is trapped, it’s unlikely the creature will be in the vicinity by the time he arrives. Still, Morton does his best to protect them from their invaders.

A real character
Morton isn’t always so forgiving of his human counterparts. On weekends during October, Morton goes to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif. Since 2004, Morton has dressed as various characters and does his best to scare visitors. One of his favorite characters is a fallen monk he calls “The Collector,” who chases guests around the park.

“You’re essentially getting paid to scare the living daylights out of people,” Morton says.

His favorite guests to scare are the men who put on a brave face for their girlfriends, but crumble when he jumps out to spook them.

Whatever activity Morton embraces — pest management, snake breeding, band roadie or scaring people — it’s a safe bet the activity will take place to the beat of a Celtic drum.

Dan Jacobs is  a contributor to PMP. Contact him at


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