Owner of venom-spitting cobra that escaped in Raleigh faces 40 misdemeanor charges

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The owner of a venom-spitting cobra that escaped in a Raleigh neighborhood is facing 40 misdemeanor charges, according to Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.

Christopher Gifford, 21, faces 40 charges for violating a state statute regulating the ownership of venomous reptiles.

The zebra cobra escaped and was spotted in a northwest Raleigh neighborhood. It was reported by a 911 caller on June 28. Animal control caught the snake on June 30 hours after a CBS 17 crew encountered it and alerted police to its location.

Authorities said it was taken to a secure facility. They didn’t say where.

The zebra cobra was reported by a 911 caller around 5 p.m. on June 28. It was caught around 8:40 p.m. on June 30.

The zebra cobra snake is not native to North Carolina or even the United States. The only venomous snake native to Raleigh is the copperhead.

Venom from the snake can cause swelling, difficulty opening your eyes, or breathing. It’ll be a painful and swollen bite. However, the zebra cobra snake doesn’t have to bite you to be dangerous. It spits venom from its mouth.

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