Raleigh zebra cobra owner must give up his snakes, pay $13,000 after plea deal

Christopher Gifford pleaded guilty charges related to not properly reporting the escaped snake.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 21-year-old who owned the venomous snake that escaped into a Raleigh neighborhood earlier in the summer pleaded guilty Friday.

Christopher Gifford is the man who owned the zebra cobra that had the city on edge for a few days in June. According to videos posted on social media, Gifford had a large collection of exotic animals at his parents' home in Northwest Raleigh.

Last month, he was issued a criminal summons that included 36 counts of improper enclosures, three counts of mislabeled enclosures and one count of failure to report escape.

In court Friday, Gifford pleaded guilty charges related to not properly reporting the escaped snake.



The judge accepted Gifford's plea and ordered him to serve 12-month supervised probation and pay $13,000 in restitution--some of which will pay for the overtime of first responders who worked the case. Gifford also agreed to turn over 75 snakes and not possess any other snakes for a year.

"He is 21 years old and he made a mistake and he's really done everything he can to rectify the situation," his attorney said.

The zebra cobra was caught June 30 when it was spotted on a neighbors front porch. Animal control officers arrived and used glue traps to secure the animal.

SEE ALSO: Venomous 6-foot snake escapes home in Texas, puts busy neighborhood on high alert
EMBED More News Videos

More than a month after an exotic venomous snake escaped from a home in Raleigh, a similar thing happened more than 1,000 miles away in Texas.



Gifford was hospitalized by a snake bite in April, according to our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer.

Gifford posted on Facebook in April describing himself as having been bitten by his own West African Green Mamba. Antivenom from Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina had to be rushed to the local hospital in order to save Gifford's life.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.