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Wildlife Experts Continue Search For 6-Foot Cobra In Grand Prairie Using Traps

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The search continues for a 6-foot cobra that got loose in Grand Prairie earlier this week.

Police on Wednesday warned residents of the missing West African Banded Cobra, which is venomous, after it escaped from its enclosure at a home in the 1800 block of Cherry Street at around 5 p.m. on Aug. 3.

The incident prompted the snake's owner, Tre Mat, to call police. Wildlife control experts responded to search but did not have any luck Wednesday.

With still no reported cobra sighting, DFW Wildlife Control was back out in the area Thursday to set up traps. The group said the search area would also need to be expanded on Thursday.

This is not the actual missing snake, but an image sent of the same species from police. (courtesy: Grand Prairie Police Department)

"It's not going to chase you down. Anything like that. If you step on it, it's going to bite you. If you grab it it's going to bite you. Other than that you're pretty safe," Randall Kennedy, with DFW Wildlife Control, said.

According to DFW Wildlife Control, 10 traps were placed near the home where the cobra escaped from.

City employees also walked door to door to hand out warnings to residents.

The owner, who was permitted to purchase the snake, told CBS 11 News he believes the public is not in danger. Police have not issued any charges or citations to the owner but are looking into possible violations.

"We're exploring all options. That means is there a city ordinance violation? Is there a state law that was broken? Is there a federal law that was broken that comes to how the snake was transported into the United States," said Mark Beseda, spokesman for the Grand Prairie Police Department.

CBS 11 News learned getting a state permit to own an exotic snake is relatively as easy as getting a fishing license.

Grand Prairie's city codes say "no person shall keep any constrictor-type snakes..." but doesn't mention venomous snakes. Dallas County code prohibits keeping a "dangerous wild animal" but the state definition for that doesn't include snakes.

Police said they partnered with the Grand Prairie Fire Department to alert area hospitals of the missing cobra and to be prepared to treat this type of snake bite.


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