HOUSTON - A cobra was spotted wandering the halls of a luxury high-rise in downtown Houston over the weekend, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reports.
"It was sort of just hanging out in the middle of the hallway," said Ethan Shear, a resident of the Rice lofts. "It had raised its head a little bit like you would see in Indiana Jones or something. Enough to know I should not go near that."
A quick walk to his car turned into a heart-stopping encounter Saturday evening for Shear.
"I turn the corner, I hear a guy scream 'watch out,' and there's a cobra, and I just back up," said Shear. "I may have let out an expletive or two."
Shear then said he backed up and took a picture.
"I thought, 'If I don't take a picture, who's gonna believe me?' and then went on with my day," he said.
Resident Colby Lewis said someone ran up to him and his group of four and told them to call the police because they were almost bitten by a king cobra.
Lewis said at first he thought they were joking, but when he went upstairs to the third floor, he saw a white king cobra sitting in the middle of the hallway.
"Somebody said something along the lines of 'Well, have you ever heard of a spitting cobra before?'" said Lewis. "And then we all kind of walked away."
Lewis said he told the building's management, who then called police.
"I've had several experts look at it, and they all do believe it is a cobra," Animal Control Division Manager Jarrad Mears said.
Mears said the city's Animal Control department is following up with the pest control company who took the cobra to figure out what happened to it. They're also following up with the management of Rice lofts to figure out where it came from.
"We've heard from other residents that there was another resident who resided at that apartment months ago that did have a cobra in his possession, and he was asked to leave, so that's what we're following up on right now," said Mears.
Rice management sent a letter to residents saying they brought in a snake expert to search the third floor apartments and common areas but found no other snakes.
Mears said he also does not know of any other snakes but is still urging residents to watch their step just in case.
"We'll be much more diligent," said Lewis.
"We'll be on cobra watch," added his friend, Sarah Braniff.
"When I see a second cobra, then I'll start worrying," said Shear.
Mears said Animal Control will turn over whatever they find in their investigation to Texas Parks and Wildlife. He also said even though the state does give out permits to people to own venomous snakes, it is not legal to do so in the city of Houston.