‘Very dangerous’ spitting zebra cobra is on the loose in North Carolina capital

Reptile escaped from a home in the area

Naja nigricincta nigricincta 062 - Zebra Cobra from Ruacana. African Snake Institute photo. (Johan Marais, Johan Marais)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Officials in North Carolina are warning people to be on the lookout for a venomous snake on the loose.

The Raleigh Police Department sent out a notice early Tuesday urging anyone who sees the missing zebra cobra to stay away and 911. They say the venomous snake could spit and bite if cornered.

An animal control officer was called to a home in northwest Raleigh on Monday evening for a report of a live snake that was spotted on a resident’s porch, police said. But when the officer arrived, the snake had already slithered away. It wasn’t until after the call that police learned that a zebra cobra was missing from a home in the area.

Venomous snakes are legal to own in North Carolina, but they must be kept in an escape-proof, bite-proof enclosure and owners must notify law enforcement if one escapes.

The African Snake Bite Institute classifies zebra cobras as “very dangerous,” but says fatalities are not common. The nocturnal snakes found in Namibia and Angola are black to brown with light crossbars, and average 4 feet (1.2 meters) in length.

Venom from the snake, according to the African Snake Bite Institute, can potentially cause pain, swelling, blistering and tissue damage. The snake is known to spit quickly if threatened or cornered.

A report from WRAL said the snake escape was first reported by a neighbor who managed to get photo and video of the reptile before it disappeared. Residents in the area where the snake was spotted also told WRAL that they’re concerned for the safety of their pets and children.

The snake is still on the loose as of this publication.

About the Authors:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.