Depending on where you live, it might not be too odd to run across a snake in your yard, especially if you have tall grass or a rodent problem. But these snakes are often just the harmless kind, like your common garden snake or rat snake. Unfortunately, for residents in one area, the next snake they happen upon might not be so harmless. Police are now warning about a highly venomous snake that is running—or rather, slithering—loose in Texas. Read on to find out if there’s a chance you may encounter this dangerous creature.
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There is a venomous cobra snake on the loose in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Officials from Grand Prairie, Texas, alerted residents of a missing cobra on Aug. 4. According to the police department’s statement, the owner of a venomous West African banded cobra reported his snake missing to Grand Prairie Animal Services the night before, around 6:30 p.m. But after a lengthy search through the night, professionals were unable to locate the snake. As of Thursday morning, a representative for the Grand Prairie Police Department confirmed to CBS-affiliate KLST News that no sightings of the snake have been reported so far.
If you think you’ve seen the cobra, police say you should call 911.
Police are asking residents who live in the area to call 911 immediately if they see any type of snake believed to be the missing cobra. According to The Dallas Morning News, the West African banded cobra is black and beige and six feet long. “Do not approach or attempt to capture the venomous snake,” the Grand Prairie Police Department warns.
The owner, who asked not to be identified by name, told NBC 5 that he was sorry for causing panic, and that there is a chance his snake is already dead, either from being caught between the walls of his house or dying down by the creek along I-30, a major interstate that runs from Grand Prairie to Dallas. “I did make a mistake and I feel very sorry for the community,” the owner said.
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This cobra’s venomous bite can be fatal to humans.
A bite from this West African banded cobra snake can be fatal, Randall Kennedy, a snake handler with the Dallas Fort Worth Wildlife Control, told NBC 5. “It’s an extremely dangerous snake if you’re bitten,” he said. “This could be deadly for an adult.”
Kennedy said the snake will likely be hiding in shrubs if it’s outside and only tends to be aggressive when approached or provoked. “First they’ll kind of stand up and show you their hood and try to warn you to get back,” Kennedy said. “Unfortunately, if you were bit by it, it’s very devastating. Lots of tissue damage immediately. You can go into a coma. It can attack the nervous system.”
The Grand Prairie Police Department says it has partnered with the Grand Prairie Fire Department to alert area hospitals of the missing snake and “initiated a protocol with Parkland Hospital to treat this type of snake bite in event of a human encounter.”
The cobra’s owner could face charges for allowing it to escape.
According to KLST News, the owner of the cobra snake has a permit to own a non-indigenous snake in Texas. But the State of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed that these types of snakes are still illegal in Grand Prairie, despite the permit. “The possession of a Controlled Exotic Snake permit from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has no bearing on [the municipality’s laws] whatsoever,” a department representative told the news outlet.
The owner may also get hit with misdemeanor charges for allowing the cobra to escape, whether “recklessly, intentionally, or negligently,” the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said.
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