There’s a dangerous, and venomous six-foot snake on the loose in North Texas.

Last week, Grand Prairie Police arrested 23-year-old Lawrence Matl for allegedly releasing a West African Banded Cobra, into the public last summer.  While the snake is permitted by the Parks and Wildlife Department, it is extremely poisonous, and can be deadly. Matl is being charged with “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly releasing a regulated snake from captivity”, which is a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $4,000, and up to a year in jail.  At the time of this writing, he is being held on a $10,000 bond.

Grand Prairie Police Department
Grand Prairie Police Department

In August, the snake, which was kept in an aquarium, slithered away from Matl’s home.  He said that the cobra escaped because the aquarium wasn’t properly closed, and that he is doing everything he can to retrieve the snake.

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While Dallas-Fort Worth Wildlife Control assisted both police, and animal control in retrieving the cobra, they were unsuccessful in their search.  Neighbors have even set up traps along Cherry Street, where Matl lives, and still haven’t caught the snake.

Since the cobra has been on the loose for the past six months, it is unknown if the snake is even still alive.  Recent winter weather, and whether the snake was able to find food or shelter, factor whether the snake is either dead or alive.  While the cobra is a shy animal, and likes to stay hidden, it is considered extremely dangerous, and deadly.

Hopefully this snake is either dead, or wandered out to the middle of nowhere, where it can’t harm anyone.

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Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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