"Call us immediately, do not try to kill it yourself," said Ferguson. "People need to be aware that this snake is missing, but I really think it's most likely in the house due to the cool weather. We're lucky this didn't happen in the summer when it is warm."
Ferguson stated that he has been in touch with the herpetologist at the Abilene Zoo and Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens who will assist in the search for the snake, saying that these professionals and snake experts will begin their search in the next day or two. Local officials have not searched the home due to the lethal venom of this snake and not having necessary protective gear for the search.
Ferguson stated that like most snakes, this cobra will usually stay in a place low to the ground that is small and warm because snakes do not metabolize their food well and cannot move as quickly in cooler weather.
The snake is described to be a young Sunset Monocled Cobra which originates from India, is white to light pink in color and when its hood flares out it is about 2-2.5 inches in width. It is the pet of a 41-year-old Brownwood man who is currently incarcerated at the Brown County Jail, according to Brownwood Police reports. His family reported on Jan. 18 that the snake had been missing for three days. Ferguson said that although it has been missing for days, with the cooler weather the snake is most likely still in the home of its owner.
Ferguson said that because it is a younger snake, it cannot jump as high as mature cobras, but can still jump nearly knee high. Larger cobras are also known to climb according to information Ferguson obtained from the Abilene Zoo herpetologist.
This isn't the first time Brownwood Animal Control has had to deal with a cobra, Ferguson explained.
"Approximately two years ago, this same individual had a 5 foot long cobra that he was handling and a concerned citizen called us," Ferguson said. "He was ordered to get rid of it and I believe he sold it to someone in the Austin area."
The owner was cited at that time for violating city ordinance by possessing a venomous animal within the city limits, according to Ferguson. Since this is not his first violation, the owner may face stiffer penalties, such as citations from the city and charges from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as exotic animal and reptile owners are required to obtain permits from TPWD, Ferguson said.
Ferguson stated that having exotic and venomous pets can be dangerous, as the cobra anti-venom would have to be located and possibly flown in from a zoo in Abilene, Dallas, San Antonio or Florida, depending on availability. He explained that the anti-venom would have to come from wherever there is a monocled cobra in captivity since it is not as typically needed as rattlesnake anti-venom, which is available at Brownwood Regional Medical Center.
"I would be overjoyed to find this snake dead or alive," said Ferguson. "It's not safe for you as the owner or for your neighborhood to have this type of pet. These snakes are very dangerous."Brownwood Police asks the public to report any sightings of this snake immediately by calling 325-646-2525.