Venomous zebra cobra loose on North Carolina streets

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A zebra cobra is slithering through the streets of Raleigh, North Carolina.

The venomous snake was last spotted on a porch on Sandringham Drive on Tuesday evening, according to an early morning alert issued by the Raleigh Police Department (RPD) on Tuesday.

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“At approximately 5:10 p.m. this evening, a Raleigh Police Department animal control officer responded to the 7000 block of Sandringham Drive in conjunction with a report of a live snake that was spotted on the porch of a resident’s property. Upon the officer’s arrival, the snake was not located,” the release said. 

The scaly serpent, native to Africa, was the pet of a resident – though residents told WRAL-TV on Tuesday that they were not aware it was their neighbor.

The striped zebra cobra is spotted on a porch in Raleigh, N.C. (Credit: Raleigh Police Department)
(Credit: Raleigh Police Department)

Police advised that the snake could spit and bite if cornered and asked anyone who encounters it to dial 911 “immediately.”

State law says that owning a venomous snake is not illegal if the owner keeps the reptile in an escape-proof and bite-proof enclosure labeled “Venomous Reptile Inside” with scientific name, common name, appropriate antivenin, has an escape recovery plan and the location of suitable antivenin and first aid.

“In the event of an escape of a venomous reptile, the owner or possessor of the venomous reptile shall immediately notify local law enforcement,” the law states.

RPD did not say if the owner would face any charges in the matter.

The zebra cobra originates from central Namibia and Angola, according to the African Snake Bite Institute.

The black and brown nocturnal snake is identified by its light, vertical stripes and can grow up to 4 or 5 feet in length. 

The institute noted that, while the snake is usually “shy” and normally chooses flight over fight, it is quick to bite and its venom is cytotoxic and could cause tissue damage. 

Fatalities are reportedly “not common.”

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There are six venomous snakes native to North Carolina, according to The News & Observer.

The outlet said Tuesday that police had roped off areas of potential concern.


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