Snake wrangler captures escaped king cobra in Texas

NEEDVILLE, Texas, Aug. 25 (UPI) — A professional snake wrangler captured a deadly king cobra in Texas 9 hours after it escaped from its owner’s barn.

Jared Zellars, 23, who owns numerous exotic pets, said he discovered the 8-foot-long venomous snake was missing from his Needville barn enclosure about 7 a.m. Wednesday.

“I usually use hooks, I double check everything and lock all the cages she just happened to break through. The plastic was bent or something I don’t know how she did it,” Zellars told KPRC-TV.

Fort Bend County sheriff’s deputies and Texas Parks and Wildlife officers spent hours searching the area for the snake, and at one point shot and killed a serpent that turned out to be a cottonmouth.

Snake wrangler Clint Pustejovsky and his partner spotted the cobra about 3:45 p.m. on Zellars’ property, about 20 feet away from the barn.

“The most venomous snake capture I’ve ever had by far,” Pustejovsky told KTRK-TV.

“They have a powerful dangerous venom. A bite like that, we had already informed the reptile community, had already informed Dr. Spencer Grant,” he said, referring to the toxicologist for Houston.

Sheriff Troy Nehls said the venom from a single king cobra bite “could kill an elephant or up to 20 men.”

The snake was returned to Zellars, who authorities said holds all of the proper permits to keep venomous snakes. Zellars offered a public apology for the snake’s escape.

“The King Cobra in Needville has been located. Residents in Needville may now come down from their roofs,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.

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