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Dog bitten by cobra in California suburb

Snake charmer in India.
Snake charmer in India.
Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Residents of Thousand Oak, CA are being warned to keep their pets indoors and their doors shut after a neighborhood dog was bitten by an escaped albino monocle cobra now slithering through the affluent suburb near LA. The snake (most likely an illegal pet) is described as extremely “dangerous and venomous.” Although generally not aggressive, the Cobra’s neurotoxin venom can kill within hours after it bites someone.” Anti-venom, however, is available from the San Diego Zoo, and will be immediately flown in if necessary.

The hooded viper was first seen and photographed Wednesday by the owner of the bitten dog.According to Brandon Dowling, spokesman for Los Angeles County, “the dog, named Kiko, was seen on television reports sporting a large red wound on its neck but otherwise appeared healthy.”

He also stated that the cobra, which is most active during cooler hours in the morning and evening, is “most likely hiding under a pile of junk or under vegetation, anywhere where it's dark, and will probably be backed up against something.” Anyone who sees it is being warned not to approach, try to capture or kill it.

Although this particular snake is all white, monocled cobras are recognized by the distinct O-shaped pattern on their hoods, as well as a pair of fixed anterior fangs. Adult snakes generally grow to be about 4.4- 4.9 ft, with tails a little over 9” long, although some can reach a maximum 7.5’ in length.Native to India, China, Vietnam andCambodia, they are also found in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand and the Malay Peninsula, it is illegal to keep them as pets in California except for educational and scientific purposes, and a permit is required. Even then, they are usually kept in double-locked cages.