Albino cobra bites dog before escaping home

AUTHORITIES are hunting for a "very dangerous and venomous" albino cobra that reportedly bit a dog and then slithered off into a suburban Los Angeles neighbourhood after escaping from a home there.

The neurotoxin venom from the albino monocled cobra can be deadly and residents are being urged to call emergency services if they see the snake.

"Do not approach it, do not try to capture it, do not try to kill it," said Brandon Dowling, a Los Angeles County spokesman.

If the snake does bite someone, anti-venom will be flown in from the San Diego Zoo, he said.

The creature reportedly bit a dog named Kiko on Monday evening, who has since made a recovery.

Families are also being advised to not let children play near animal burrows, pipes and anywhere the snake could hide and to keep doors closed.

Greg Pauly, curator of herpetology at the county's Natural History Museum said the cobra was likely bred in captivity because its colour would make it vulnerable to hawks and other predators in the wild.

The snake isn't aggressive but will defend itself if cornered, and "to it, a person is a great, big potential predator," Mr Pauly said.

It may remain "tucked away in a corner somewhere" for several days - unless the snake is hungry, he added.

Cobras, which can grow up to four-feet-long, are illegal to own as a pet, although wildlife permits can be obtained under certain circumstances.

The monocled cobra gets its name from the ring or circle design on the back of its hood. It is common in Southeast Asia and parts of India and China.

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