A venomous West African Banded Cobra snake may be on the loose in Grand Prairie.
Grand Prairie Animal Services said they were notified a snake was missing from a home on the 1800 block of Cherry Street, near Interstate 30 and Belt Line Road, at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The owner reported his cobra was missing from its enclosure and that he wasn't sure where it went.
"Animal Services, the owner, and a venomous snake apprehension professional actively searched for the snake inside and outside of the residence through the night with no success," Grand Prairie Animal Services said.
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The snake's owner told NBC 5's Maria Guerrero on Wednesday afternoon that he's sorry for causing panic and that his snake could have been caught between the walls of his house and died. He added that the snake could have also gone down to the creek that runs along I-30 and died.
“I did make a mistake and I feel very sorry for the community,” said the owner who asked NBC 5 not to identify him by name.
The ‘snake enthusiast’ says he was feeding his cobra a rat, which he identifies as a Forrest Cobra, on Tuesday and then he left his home.
“I left to go get food for my other animals down the street and I came back, and the cage door was open by an inch. She must have found a way to open it up,” he said.
Just in case the snake is not stuck in the wall, residents who live in the area are asked to report any snake believed to be the missing cobra by calling 911. Residents are further cautioned against approaching the snake or attempting to charm or catch it on their own.
Animal Services notified area hospitals of the missing snake and prepared them to treat a snake bite in the event someone happens upon the cobra and is bitten.
The Grand Prairie Police Department has partnered with the Grand Prairie Fire Department who has alerted area hospitals of the missing snake and initiated a protocol with Parkland hospital to treat this type of snakebite in event of a human encounter.
The snake's owner would not explicitly say how he went about purchasing the snake, only saying there are ‘people’ and ‘venomous shows’ where enthusiasts can buy snakes.
Grand Prairie Police said the man did have a valid state-issued license to own the snake in question.
“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department did issue him a permit for this type of snake. He did have that permit granted by the state,” said Officer Mark Beseda of the Grand Prairie Police Department. “We’re looking into that permit. What does it take to get that permit, why is the permit granted in a residential area?”
Beseda added the department and state authorities will look into whether any local, state or federal laws or ordinances were violated.
The snake’s owner says the city removed two other snakes from his home early this morning, including a pit viper. He admits he made a mistake.
“There were simple protocols that could have, five screws could’ve stopped this. It just gives a bad look for the community and I’m sorry too to the reptile community and my local community,” he said.
He insists he believes the snake likely slithered into his walls or attic and died in the heat.
“This could be deadly for an adult. It’s an extremely dangerous snake if you’re bitten,” said Randall Kennedy of Dallas Fort Worth Wildlife Control.
Kennedy questions whether the snake was properly secured.
"These snakes are supposed to be under double lock and key," said Kennedy.
The snake handler adds, the species tends to be very aggressive only when approached or provoked.
If it is outside, it may be scared and hiding in shrubs.
“First they’ll kind of stand up and show you their hood and try to warn you to get back,” said Kennedy. “Unfortunately, if you were bit by it, it’s very devastating. Lots of tissue damage immediately. You can go into a coma. It can attack the nervous system.”