Escaped albino cobra gets new home at California zoo

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 05, 2014 4:11 PM

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A venomous albino cobra that somehow got loose in a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood and attacked a dog, putting residents on edge, has been given a new home at the San Diego Zoo, a spokeswoman there said on Friday.

The all-white specimen of a species called a monocled cobra, which is illegal to possess in California without a special permit, was captured on Thursday near where it was last seen when it scuffled with the dog in the community of Thousand Oaks.

The snake was initially taken to the Los Angeles Zoo and later transferred to the San Diego Zoo.

"We don't have the anti-venom for this type of cobra and the San Diego Zoo does," Los Angeles Zoo spokeswoman April Spurlock said in explaining the move.

The snake has been quarantined since its capture.

The dog was treated at a veterinarian hospital for what was originally reported to be a snake bite to its neck, and it has since recovered.

Betsey Webster, a spokeswoman for the animal control agency, said on Thursday that the dog's injury turned out to be "not consistent with a bite" and may have only been an abrasion since no venom entered the wound.

Webster said investigators were actively following leads to determine who might have owned the snake, which is native to parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Authorities launched an urgent search for the wandering cobra after the dog's owner took photographs of it following the attack, touching off a local media frenzy.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler)