North Carolinians beware, there is currently a highly venomous spitting cobra hiding somewhere in northwest Raleigh.
The zebra cobra that escaped is owned by Christopher Gifford, a reptile enthusiast who routinely shows off exotic reptiles on his social media platforms. This isn’t the first time one of Gifford’s snakes put him in the news this year though.
According to ABC 11, anti-venom from the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina had to be rushed to the hospital in order to save Gifford’s life.
Gifford still lives with his parents in the Raleigh suburbs, which is where the snake was last spotted. That was Monday evening, when a neighbor called the cops to report that they had spotted a potentially dangerous snake in their neighborhood.
The snake’s current whereabouts are unknown and it is still on the loose.
Zebra cobras are native to the deserts and dry plains of Southern Africa. They are highly venomous and quick to bite or spit if cornered or approached. The snakes are capable of spitting their venom up to 9-feet with incredible accuracy. They hit their targets in the eyes almost every time they spit.
The snakes venom can cause blindness, tissue damage, and even death. The venom is particularly dangerous to small children and pets.
Owning highly venomous snakes is legal in North Carolina so long as certain stipulations are met, like having an “escape-proof” cage and alerting law enforcement immediately if a venomous snake does escape. At this time the police have not made a statement regarding any legal repercussions for Gifford.
North Carolina is home to 6 different species of venomous snake – The copperhead, cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake, pigmy rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake and eastern coral snake. None of which are near as dangerous as the escaped cobra.
If bitten by a venomous snake, medical attention should be sought immediately and it’s important that you not use a tourniquet, cut the wound and try to suck the venom out (despite what you see in movies), or pack the wound with ice.
And for the record, snakes are venomous, not poisonous.
If you bite something and it makes you sick, that’s poisonous. If something bites you and it makes you sick, that’s venomous. Don’t make the same mistake as this news anchor when telling your friends about this story.
And if you’re in the Raleigh area, here are some tips for identifying a zebra cobra.