Venomous pet zebra cobra on the loose after escaping home in Raleigh

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Venomous pet zebra cobra missing in Raleigh
A venomous pet snake escaped and remains on the loose in Raleigh.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A venomous pet snake escaped and remains on the loose in Raleigh.

Raleigh Police Department sent out an urgent alert Tuesday morning after the zebra cobra was spotted on someone's front porch.

The cobra was seen around 5 p.m. Monday at a home in northwest Raleigh--on Sandringham Drive near Lynn and Leesville roads--but when animal control arrived the snake had slithered off.

The 911 caller said he saw the snake and wasn't sure who to call about it. The dispatcher said she would connect him with animal control.

"That's so scary and dangerous; it makes me feel like we need to take care of this situation and not let it happen again," neighbor Vince Toscano said.

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Zebra cobras are native to deserts and drier areas in southern Africa. The snake is highly venomous and will bite or spit if cornered.

NC State Professor of Aquatic, Wildlife, and Zoological Medicine Greg Lewbart said the snake's venom can cause blindness, tissue damage and even death. He said it's most dangerous to small children, cats and dogs.

"You're dealing with something that's pretty unusual and actually scary," Lewbart said.

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Police said anyone who spots the snake should call 911 immediately. Do not approach the snake.

Owning a venomous snake is legal in North Carolina. However, the owner must follow several guidelines--such as having an escape-proof cage and alerting law enforcement immediately if an escape does occur.

At this time police have not said whether the snake's owner broke any laws in this instance.