'Dangerous' king cobra captured in Fort Bend County

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Thursday, August 25, 2016
King cobra snake captured in Needville
King cobra snake captured in Needville, Chauncy Glover reports.

NEEDVILLE, TX (KTRK) -- Clint Pustejovsky is known as the snake man. He's been catching snakes for 50 years.

The hunt for an escaped king cobra in Fort Bend County took hours, with the snake safely recaptured just before 4pm, not far from where it slithered away.

"The most venomous snake capture I've ever had by far," Pustejovsky told abc13.

The 8-foot-long snake escaped from a room inside a barn in the 12000 block of Cloudt. Inside, investigators say there 24 other snakes, and all but one are poisonous.

Pustejovsky called the situation "scary" said it would have been dangerous if the wrong people encountered the cobra.

Missing king cobra snake found in Needville, Kevin Quinn reports.

"They have a powerful dangerous venom. A bite like that, we had already informed the reptile community, had already informed Dr. Spencer Grant," he said regarding the toxicologist for Houston.

But how the king cobra got out is still a mystery. "I usually use hooks. I double check everything. Lock them. All the cages are locked. She just happened to break through," said owner Jared Zellars.

Game wardens say a friend of Zellars alerted them to the escape this morning around 7am.

Zellars says he bought the snake about two years ago after buying it from a friend who imported it Indonesia.

Its venom can be deadly. That's not comforting news for the few neighbors whose homes line this rural street. "I got every gun I got loaded up," said neighbor Wesley Kaack.

Authorities say Zellars had all the proper permits to legally keep exotic snakes. In fact, they say the permit allows him to buy and sell them. He says he's been keeping them for about the past five years, that he's fascinated by them.

He's been searching the fields near his family's property all day. He offers a public apology for the snake's escape.

Needvile High and Needville Middle Schools are both within 2 miles of this property. Both campuses were on alert. The middle school cancelled all outdoor activities today.

King cobras can reach lengths of 18 feet and are considered among the most venomous snakes on the planet. The snakes are aggressive when cornered.