A venomous albino cobra that has already bit a dog remains on the loose in Thousand Oaks after officials halted a search for the potentially lethal snake overnight.
The albino monocled cobra, which hails from Southeast Asia, has been on the loose in the suburban city since Monday after it was last seen in the 1300 block of Rancho Avenue, where it bit the dog.
Authorities said the cobra's owner has not come forward, but people with the dog were able to photograph the snake just moments before it slithered away.
The dog has since been released from a veterinary clinic, its neck bandaged.
Alfred Aguirre, an officer with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, said a bite from the cobra can lead to death in as little as an hour, depending on a person's immune system.
A three-man search team was deployed Wednesday to hunt the cobra at sunset, when it was most likely to emerge from hiding, but the effort was called off when darkness fell.
Authorities, meanwhile, recommended keeping all doors closed to keep the snake from entering.
Though the snake isn't big enough to prey on cats and dogs, it will maintain a defensive posture when provoked, much like a rattlesnake, Aguirre said.
The snake's preferred diet consists mostly of rodents.
Anyone who spots the cobra should not approach it but instead call authorities at (818) 991-0071.
In California, cobras are restricted animals and a permit must be obtained to own one, said Janice Mackey, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Even with a permit, the reptiles can be used for only scientific and educational purposes.