LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – Lincoln County authorities now consider the building where a missing Egyptian cobra was last seen to be safe.
The fifth day of an exhaustive search only turned up only a common salamander or newt in the building. There was still no sign of the cobra on Thursday.
Moscow Mills Police Chief Terry Foster told FOX 2 he met with the key parties involved. He concluded that everything was being done to find the snake if it was indeed missing and not stolen. He believed it was more than likely stolen and had not escaped.
The snake was unaccounted for after the first day of a venomous reptile show called “Midwest Venom Fest” over the weekend. It was held at a youth sports arena in Moscow Mills.
Day 2 of the event was canceled Sunday morning when the snake was missing from its sealed container. The snake’s owner, who drove from Texas to exhibit his snakes at the show, told FOX 2 that the container had been moved but was still sealed, suggesting that it was stolen.
“That container doesn’t pick itself up and move it and put the lid back on,” said Micky Meyer, owner of the Show Me Reptiles shop in Troy, Missouri. “There’s just really no evidence of the snake getting out of that container.”
Meyer organized and hosted the event. He has gone to extremes to rule out the likelihood of a loose cobra in the building, bringing in experienced trackers or “herpers,” and baiting traps with live rodents, sure to lure a hungry snake.
“We locked the building down. We had 23, 24 people there for 7 hours,” Meyer said. “We have professional snake traps in there. We turned the heat off to hopefully freeze it out. We’ve even scoured the outside of the building; the fields next door. It’s not in there.”
A venomous snake bite, be it from a Missouri copperhead or an imported cobra, merits an ER visit, but is not typically life-threatening for someone in relatively good health, according to Dr. Charles Caffrey, an ER doctor at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.
“Usually, you need pretty prompt medical attention especially if you have any swelling. The earlier you get anti-venom, if it’s a severe enough envenomation, the better the possible outcome,” he said.
Meyer gave the following advice in the unlikely event someone was to encounter the missing snake.
“This is a cobra. So, if you scare it, it’s going to ‘hood up.’ Leave it alone, don’t touch it, and call the police,” he said.
Foster said that after consulting the city attorney, there was no justifiable reason to close the venue to youth sports practices or other events.
Meyer continues to check traps daily and plans another complete sweep of the building this weekend.