Spitting cobra on the loose in North Carolina neighbourhood

Spitting cobra on the loose in North Carolina neighbourhood
Owning venomous pets is legal in the state if kept in ‘escape-proof’ enclosure

A highly venomous spitting cobra that was being kept as a pet has escaped from a house in North Carolina.

Police say that the zebra cobra, which spits its venom in its victim’s eyes, has disappeared from the home in Raleigh and was last seen on a neighbouring porch.

Officials say that an animal control officer responded to the property but the snake had already gone.

Police say that it remains on the loose and could spit or bite if cornered.

North Carolina is one of the few states in the US where owning a venomous snake is legal as long as it is housed in an “escape-proof” enclosure.

Police officers visited a home in the neighborhood that reportedly belongs to the snake’s owner, but have not said if that person will face any charges.

The home is owned by a Keith Gifford, who along with his son Christopher Gifford have social media accounts featuring photos of exotic snakes, according to The News & Observer.

Christopher Gifford’s Instagram account features a picture of him with a zebra spitting cobra, reports the newspaper.

Authorities then blocked off the street and roped off the parking lot of a tennis court that is nearby.

“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 told ABC11.

NC State Professor of Aquatic, Wildlife, and Zoological Medicine Greg Lewbart said the snake’s venom can cause blindness, tissue damage and even be fatal.

And he said that the venom would be most dangerous to small children, cats and dogs.

“You’re dealing with something that’s pretty unusual and actually scary,” said Mr Lewbart.

The World Health Organization says that snake bites kill more than 81,000 people a year, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


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