SOMEWHERE, North Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A year to the day has passed, and still no sign of the elusive West African Banded Cobra that escaped her cage in Grand Prairie.
The neighborhood surrounding Cherry Street went on high alert as news of the highly venomous cobra’s breakout spread on Aug. 3, 2022. She was six feet long at the time.
Despite efforts by both law enforcement and Grand Prairie Animal Services, as well as a venomous snake apprehension professional, it was never found. DFW Wildlife Control set traps to catch the serpent, but to no avail.
Considered the largest of Africa’s true cobras, the species of snake can grown up to 10 feet and are frequently kept in zoos, research institutes and private collections.
CBS 11 News spoke to the wayward, who was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor following the incident. At the time, Matl said he believed the snake was dead, and the public wasn’t in any danger.
Yet a body was never recovered. And there were no reported sightings since.
“I wanted my community to feel safe. And yeah, it’s required. I’m required as a permitted citizen to call my community if somethings, a mishap,” he said.
Matl kept the snake in a wooden homemade cage with plexiglass. There weren’t any locks on the cage, according to his arrest warrant. Despite this, Matl told investigators he didn’t know how she escaped. He had just fed her and left the room for 15 minutes before returning to find the empty cage that day.
An expert from a local wildlife removal company advised investigators that the cage wasn’t sufficient for such a highly venomous snake, according to the arrest warrant.
Also a local ordinance prohibits owning wild animals within city limits.
A Twitter account purporting to be the cobra went viral shortly after the incident. A Facebook and TikTok page also hit. According to her social media footprint, she’s a Cowboys fan, is nicknamed ‘Cori’ and has an ongoing Twitter feud with an attention-seeking possum from Grand Prairie.
Though the serpent hasn’t tweeted lately, this species can live about 20 years in the wild, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. That means it’s possible she’s alive.
And although she’s undoubtedly dangerous, her species prefers to escape unless provoked. Despite their aggressive reputation, cobras are actually much more cautious than many smaller snakes. The cobra only attacks people when it is cornered, in self-defense or to protect her eggs.
Anyone who sees the snake is advised to call 911, and (obviously) not approach or pick her up.