A 6 foot-long, highly poisonous, and highly aggressive West African banded cobra has been reported missing by its owner since Tuesday evening, August 3, at approximately 5 pm, according to the Grand Prairie Police Department.
Wildlife experts have been setting up traps and searching the Texas neighborhood.
The city of Grand Prairie has a population of about 200 thousand people and is located between Fort Worth and Dallas.
Officials ask neighbors not to approach or capture the snake if they come upon it and call 911 instead.
Mark Beseda of the Grand Prairie Police told CNN that they do not know if the snake is still in the house or long gone, simply because they have not been able to track it.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said the owner had the necessary permits to own the poisonous animal.
The unidentified owner said that he left to get food for his other animals, and when he came back, the snake’s cage door was open by an inch.
“I feel sorry for the community; I made a mistake,” he told CNN.
Although new to science, according to a study published in 2018, a bite from the West African Banded Cobra is considered lethal to humans.
Together with a private reptile removal expert and the City animal services, the owner has been searching nonstop for the snake but has had no luck.
Grand Prairie Animals services said a local ordinance prohibits owning wild animals within the city limits in a post on its Facebook page.
“We are looking at a city ordinance violation … we’re also exploring, did he violate some type of state law for being negligent on the snake getting out of its cage,” Beseda said. “We have not charged him or arrested him or done anything.
We’re simply exploring all of our options.”
The Grand Prairie police and fire departments alerted area hospitals about the cobra.
They initiated a protocol with Parkland Hospital in Dallas to treat anyone bitten by the snake.