CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – A North Carolina man is being treated at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill after being bitten by a cobra, officials confirmed.
Ali Iyoob was brought to the hospital for a cobra bite and is listed in critical condition.
Iyoob was featured on “My Carolina Talk” last May to talk about copperheads. Iyoob is a member of the Reptile Rescue of the Carolinas.
Bob Marotto, director of Animal Services in Orange County, said Iyood had received anti-venom as part of his treatment.
Marotto said the cobra and other snakes that were in Iyoob’s possession are secure.
“Our goal is to work to ensure that no one else is harmed by this snake or any other snake that was in possession of the person who was bitten,” Marotto said.
Orange County officials are working with the North Carolina Zoo and the Museum of Natural Sciences to remove and safely house the more than 20 snakes in Iyoob’s possession.
Marotto said venomous and constrictive snakes were in Iyoob’s possession along with non-venomous snakes.
Officials believe there has been a violation of state law and will review with the district attorney on whether charges will be filed against Iyoob.
Marotto said an Orange County deputy alerted Animal Services about the snake bite.
North Carolina law pertaining to venomous reptiles states:
Mishandling of certain reptiles declared public nuisance and criminal offense.
The intentional or negligent exposure of other human beings to unsafe contact with venomous reptiles, large constricting snakes, or crocodilians is essentially dangerous and injurious and detrimental to public health, safety and welfare, and is therefore declared to be a public nuisance and a criminal offense, to be abated and punished as provided in this Article.
Regulation of ownership or use of venomous reptiles.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, use, transport, or traffic in any venomous reptile that is not housed in a sturdy and secure enclosure. Permanent enclosures shall be designed to be escape-proof, bite-proof, and have an operable lock. Transport containers shall be designed to be escape-proof and bite-proof.
(b) Each enclosure shall be clearly and visibly labeled “Venomous Reptile Inside” with scientific name, common name, appropriate antivenin, and owner’s identifying information noted on the container. A written bite protocol that includes emergency contact information, local animal control office, the name and location of suitable antivenin, first aid procedures, and treatment guidelines, as well as an escape recovery plan must be within sight of permanent housing, and a copy must accompany the transport of any venomous reptile.
(c) In the event of an escape of a venomous reptile, the owner or possessor of the venomous reptile shall immediately notify local law enforcement.