North Carolina officials warned residents Tuesday about a venomous zebra cobra on the loose, The Associated Press reported.
The Raleigh Police Department released a notice urging people to stay away from the snake and call 911 if they spot it, according to the AP. An animal control officer responded to a call from a home in Raleigh on Monday when a snake was seen on a resident’s porch. The snake was missing from a nearby home and had left by the time the officer arrived, the AP reported.
Christopher Gifford has reportedly been identified as the owner of the cobra and posts photos and videos with exotic snakes on his social media accounts. He boasts over 460,000 followers on TikTok, according to WRAL.
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Owning venomous snakes is legal in North Carolina as long as the animal is kept in an enclosure that is both escape-proof and bite-proof, according to WRAL. Owners must also notify police if the snake escapes, according to the AP. (RELATED: REPORT: Tiger On The Loose In Tennessee)
The zebra cobra is classified as “very dangerous” by The African Snake Bite Institute. They average four feet in length, according to the AP. The snake is known for spitting in the eyes of people as far as nine feet away. Its venom can cause a person’s nervous system to shut down, according to WRAL.