21 February 2024, by Simone Jacobs

The Lelystad municipality has advised residents to keep windows and doors closed, and to keep pets indoors or on a leash when outdoors as the search for an escaped snake continues. The venomous shield-nosed cobra has been missing in the Netherlands since Monday, February 19. 

Low chances of being bitten by escaped cobra

Walter Getreuer, a Dutch snake expert, says that the venomous cobra is not likely to attack out of nowhere. “It is a defensive species. At more than a meter from the animal there is absolutely nothing going on,” said Getreuer on NPO Radio 1

Getreuer believes that the snake is probably still inside the house or somewhere near to it. He has been assisting in the search for the cobra with his specially-trained sniffer dog and has set a number of snake traps. Getreuer has also sprinkled flour at different points in the area that will signal the presence of the cobra if it crawls through it. 

Lelystad residents advised to keep a safe distance from snake

The escaped cobra is around 50 centimetres long, has cream, brown and black colouring, and is more likely to hide away in a warm, dry spot than it is to attack. If residents in the Dutch city do come across the missing shield-nosed cobra, the municipality has advised them to call the emergency services at 112 and to keep a safe distance. 

Civilians are warned not to try to catch the snake or chase it. If a snakebite does occur, symptoms include pain, swelling and sometimes neurological issues. In the unlikely event of a snakebite, the emergency services should be called immediately.

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