'Dangerous' and Venomous Cobra Possibly on the Loose in Texas City, Officials Say
A venomous snake may be on the loose in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Earlier this week, Grand Prairie Animal Services responded to a report of a missing snake from a resident in the area, according to a news release from the city.
The snake's owner, Tre Mat, realized that his pet — identified as a venomous West African Banded Cobra snake — was missing from its enclosure around 5:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
Alongside the owner, Grand Prairie Animal Services and "a venomous snake apprehension professional" searched for the reptile inside and outside Mat's home, the city said, but they could not find it.
Mat told CBS 11 News that he believes the snake is dead and that the public has nothing to worry about. The news release stated that the man could own the venomous creature as it was permitted by the State of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
According to NBC 5, Mat, a self-proclaimed "snake enthusiast," was feeding the cobra a rat when he later 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 told the outlet.
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Mat would not detail to NBC 5 how exactly he came about purchasing the dangerous animal, though he told the outlet there are "people" and "venomous shows" where one can obtain snakes.
The owner also explained that the city removed two other snakes from his residence, including a pit viper.
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Authorities are now imploring residents in the area to be on alert if the snake has survived. They said individuals should call 911 immediately if they spot the animal and should not approach or attempt to capture the snake themselves.
"We've never dealt with a West African Banded Cobra before," Grand Prairie police officer Mark Beseda told ABC 8. "This is something new for us, and frankly, it put our officers on the edge."
"We're out there walking in the grass, around the home wondering if my next step going to be on a poisonous snake," he added.
The Grand Prairie Police Department (GPPD) and Grand Prairie Fire Department (GPFD) have made area hospitals aware of the snake's escape and how to treat a venomous cobra bite, if necessary.
GPPD is also in contact with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Together, they will decide on future procedures for permitting venomous snakes in residential areas, the city said.