A search by wildlife officials on Wednesday turned up empty for a venomous cobra that slithered its way into a Southern California neighborhood and attacked a resident's dog.
The albino monocled cobra was last seen in the 1300 block of Rancho Lane in Thousand Oaks, according to the LA County Department of Animal Care and Control.
"I came up the street and here's this white thing slithering across," said neighbor Rick Eddy, who spotted the snake on Tuesday. "I just thought it was a piece of rope, but as I passed, I realized that's not a piece of rope, that's a snake."
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Eddy watched the snake move back and forth near a fence, but left it alone because he had no apparatus to catch it.
A dog named Teko (pictured) was attacked by the cobra while on his owner's property about 6:30 p.m. Monday, the owner told NBC4. Initial reports said Teko had been bitten by the snake, but a veterinarian who treated Teko told NBC4 that his injuries stemmed from when the pooch tried to escape during the attack.
Earlier Wednesday, LA County Animal Care officials said the dog was in critical condition at a veterinary hospital, but the owner said the dog was recovering at home. According to the veterinarian, Teko did not have signs of envenomation.
“We would see clinical signs in a dog, really I think within 20 minutes, we start seeing the early signs of kind of losing consciousness, and getting nauseous," Dr Evan Antin said. "There's always signs of envenomation."
Dr. Antin refers to himself as a "snake nerd," a globetrotting snake expert who last year went searching for cobras in Indonesia. He said that the chances of finding a cobra in this environment are not good, but that the snake's color may help.
"Being white is typically not ideal in nature, and there’s a reason why we don’t see all white animals, so he will stick out like a sore thumb," Antin said.
Neighbors were skeptical about the possibility of a cobra in the area until they saw photos of it.
"Low and behold, you see the big white hood in the back, and you're like, he's not kidding, this is a cobra," Zack McMillen said.
Neighbors looked for the cobra after not being able to reach Animal Control on Labor Day.
The fire department responded Monday but couldn't find the snake after an hour-long hunt. Animal Control and Fish and Wildlife officials came to help Wednesday, but a day-long search turned up empty.
"We're kind of dependent on somebody seeing it again," Fish and Wildlife Officer Dennis Rosenberg said. "I mean, we might never see it again."
Residents are being warned not to approach to try to touch the snake, and to make sure children do not play near animal burrows or pipes where snakes may linger.
The albino monocled cobra is native to Southeast Asia and is illegal to own. The cobra's owner has not come forward.
If anyone sees the snake, they should not try to kill or capture it. Instead, they are advised to call 911 and alert the Department of Animal Care and Control or the California Department of Fish and Wildlife immediately.
Residents can call:
- Los Angeles County Agoura Animal Care Center: 818-991-0071
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 909-899-0659
The monocled cobra can be active at any time of day, but officials said it is most active during the morning or evening when it is cooler. It will strike if cornered.