Residents of an upscale, semi-rural neighborhood in Thousands Oaks have been left on edge now for four days as an albino cobra with a bite that can kill an adult in as little as one hour continues to evade search teams.
Although the cobra was last seen Monday in the 1300 block of Rancho Lane, authorities said they are determined to find the potentially lethal 4-foot long albino monocled cobra hidden somewhere in the rural neighborhood lined with large properties.
"At this point, we are going to keep searching until we find it," said Denise Rosen, manager at the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control in Agoura Hills. The department provides animal control services to the Ventura County city under contract.
Authorities don't believe the cobra has traveled very far since biting a 7-year-old whippet named Teko on Monday. The dog has since been released from a veterinary clinic, its neck bandaged.
"It's definitely a scary situation," said neighborhood resident Sharann Chotenovsky. "It could be hiding anywhere."
After authorities passed out flyers about the cobra, Jan Gordon locked away her ducks and geese in a chicken coop and has been keeping her three collies indoors.
Gordon's been living on Rancho Lane for 22 years, and said rural pets, including horses, aren't uncommon. She fears the venomous snake will attack neighborhood animals if it is not found soon.
"It's very unnerving to have a nonnative species in our neighborhood," she said.
Still, she and Chotenovsky said they hope the snake isn't killed in the process.
Residents believe a neighbor likely owned the pet illegally and is not fessing up to it.
"It makes you think, 'What else do they have?'" Chotenovsky said.
Officials say the cobra's preferred meal is rodents, and if threatened, will assume a defensive posture, much like a rattlesnake.
Anyone who spots the cobra should not approach it, but instead call authorities at (818) 991-0071.