Snake is reportedly ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘extremely aggressive’
The snake, a West African banded cobra, was reported missing by its owner around 5pm on Tuesday.
Grand Prairie Animals Services began searching for the animal around 6:30pm, and was joined by the snake’s owner, other animal services specialists, and a venomous snake apprehension specialist.
The organisation issued a statement about the escaped snake. Under Texas law, the owner had a legal right to possess the snake, even though it is venomous. The State of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department called the creature “dangerous”.
The snake’s owner, Tre Mat, insisted to local ABC affiliate WFAA that he was not an irresponsible reptile owner. He claims the vulnerability in the cage only existed for a few minutes before it was fixed, but the snake managed to escape in that time regardless.
“I’m doing everything I can to help retrieve the snake,” he said.
This is the first time the department has had to deal with a West African banded cobra. According to one of the officers, the thought of encountering the snake has put his colleagues on edge.
“We’re out there walking in the grass, around the home wondering is my next step going to be on a poisonous snake,” Grand Prairie Police Officer Mark Beseda told the broadcaster.
The officer warned neighbours to avoid the snake, calling it “extremely dangerous” and “extremely aggressive”. He advised residents to call 911 immediately and stay away if they encounter the animal.
The police department has coordinated with the Grand Prairie Fire Department and Parkland Hospital to prepare to treat anyone who may be admitted with a snakebite.
This is the second cobra escape to make news in as many months; a TikTok personality also lost their venomous zebra cobra in North Carolina. The snake was on the loose for months before it was captured in July.
The TikTokker, Christian Michael Gifford, 21, was charged with 40 counts of misdemeanours stemming from numerous alleged violations of regulations on the ownership of venomous reptiles.