There was a snake bite fear when an albino cobra was found in the hall of a luxury apartment building in Houston. The young snake was on the loose when it was spotted by a resident of the high-rise complex as she was making her way to the elevator last week.
“I look down and for a second your brain does not compute what that is,” said Jan Johnson.
“‘Cause you’re in a high-rise and you don’t expect that. And I’m looking and looking and it moved and we screamed and we ran back into the apartment and shut the door. And then we opened it and we were like, ‘What’s going on out there?'”
The two-foot-long snake was an albino monocled cobra, one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Its venom is far more toxic than that of the king cobra. This snake bite can kill a man within 30 minutes without treatment. The albino cobra has also been known to spit venom up to 10 feet.
This cobra species is also extremely aggressive; the snake bites fast and repeatedly. It is native to India and Southeast Asia, but the snake can be sold as a pet in the U.S. in many states.
Police were called to the scene and captured the snake using a household broom and whisking it into a pillow case. Police then called in a wildlife control expert.
Rice Apartments resident Ethan Shear photographed the snake in the third-floor hallway.
“I thought, ‘If I don’t take a picture, who’s gonna believe me?'”
According to Brian S. Moss, who took custody of the reptile and is president of A All Animal Control, the cobra struck the pillow case sack more than 150 times while being carted away. That’s enough snake bites to strike fear into any trained snake handler.
“That particular cobra is one of the deadliest snakes in the world.”
Owning poisonous snakes is not against the law in Texas, but it is against city ordinances in Houston. At first, attempts were made to find a new home for the snake. In the end, because of the extreme danger it posed, the cobra was euthanized.
Now the search is on to uncover just how the cobra got onto the third floor of the exclusive apartment complex in the first place. The prime suspect is a former tenant who was evicted from his apartment and who was known to have a pet cobra. The chilling report from the apartment manager is that the tenant moved out months ago. If the tenant in fact turned the snake loose in a departing gesture to management, it’s a miracle that no one saw the snake before and that no snake bites were reported.
This is the second news story about pet cobras on the loose in Texas in the past two weeks. In July, an 18-year-old pet shop worker was found dead in his parked car in Austin, TX. He was a victim of a monocled cobra snake bite. His pet cobra was found as road kill on a nearby highway. Maybe it’s time for Texas state legislatures to rethink allowing pet cobras in their state.
[Photo courtesy of Ethan Shear]