Call 911 immediately if you ever spot an exotic venomous snake
Many residents of a north Raleigh neighborhood were shocked to discover they had a venomous zebra cobra as a neighbor. Is it legal to own a venomous, exotic zebra cobra? What safety protocols must be in place?Posted — Updated
Zebra cobras are not native to North Carolina – this one was owned as a pet by a member of the neighborhood.
Many residents were left asking:
- Is this safe?
- Is this legal?
- What safety protocols are already in place?
It is, in fact, legal to own exotic, venomous reptiles – however, there are many safety guidelines in place.
If you see an exotic snake on the loose, call 911 immediately
First and foremost, if you spy this zebra cobra or any other exotic venomous snake in the future, officials are clear: Call 911 immediately.
Don't call animal control or a wildlife expert. Call 911 right away, so a priority, urgent alert can be pushed out for animal control to be dispatched immediately.
Exotic, venomous snakes must be held in escape-proof enclosures
According to regulation, owners must hold their venomous reptile in a sturdy and secure enclosure, designed to be escape-proof and bite-proof.
The enclosures must be "clearly and visibly labeled" with signage reading "Venomous Reptile Inside."
The label must also include the reptile's scientific name, common name and appropriate anti-venom
There must be an escape plan and anti-venom available
There must also be a written bite protocol that includes location of a suitable antivenin. There must be treatment guidelines, as well as an escape and recovery plan within sight of the reptile's permanent housing.
Police must be called immediately upon escape
"In the event of an escape of a venomous reptile, the owner or possessor of the venomous reptile shall immediately notify local law enforcement," reads the legislation.
North Carolina is one of the few states that allows exotic animals.
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