Missing Cobra was Allegedly Kept in Cage Without Locks

City, Featured

King Cobra. | Image by Viperskin on Flikr

The owner of the six-foot cobra missing in Grand Prairie since August 3, 2021, told investigators that he didn’t know how the snake escaped.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Lawrence Matl was arrested without incident on February 11 on a warrant for allegedly violating Parks and Wildlife Code 43.853, a Class A misdemeanor which states that “a person may not intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence release or allow the release from captivity” of such a dangerous snake.

According to Matl’s arrest warrant, he kept the snake in a homemade wooden cage with plexiglass. Dallas police said the pen did not have any locks.

Matl told investigators that he didn’t know how the snake escaped. He said he had just fed the animal and left the room where he kept it on the day it went missing. According to the 23-year-old, he had returned to the room after fifteen minutes and found the cage empty.

According to the arrest warrant, an expert from a local wildlife removal company told detectives that the cage wasn’t designed for such a highly venomous snake as the missing cobra.

According to a report by WFAA, Matl said in 2021 that the snake was able to slither away due to a caging malfunction.

Matl remains at the Grand Prairie Detention Center, where he faces jail time. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the release of a controlled exotic snake is punishable by a fine of $500 to $4,000 and/or up to one-year imprisonment.

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