A king cobra was spotted in a residential area on Balacbac Road, Sto. Tomas Proper, Baguio City on September 12, 2023, a wildlife conservation team said.
In a phone interview, a veterinarian from Baguio-based group, Northern Exotics and Wildlife Troopers (N.E.W.T.), stated that the reptile was seen by a concerned citizen at 10 a.m. that day and was reported to them in the evening.
However, due to the huge gap in the time of sighting and reporting, N.E.W.T. was unable to respond immediately, and the cobra might still be in the area as of writing.
"The area to be covered is too wide since it is residential and there are many people to inquire with. We referred it to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) because we are partners with them," Sean Serrano, a veterinarian from N.E.W.T., said.
Serrano added that this is not an isolated case, and two cases of cobra spotting were also reported to them last year.
He urged the public to report any sighting of the venomous snake urgently and never try to catch it themselves to avoid danger.
"If they ever encounter cobras, they should report it as immediately as possible either to the N.E.W.T., the DENR, or the Philippine National Police. They shouldn't try catching and hurting them because most of the time, that's when the danger happens," Serrano said.
"Usually, the supply of anti-venom is super limited, and the only one that usually has it is the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Quezon City, so the drug supply is super controlled," he furthered.
Meanwhile, DENR CENRO Baguio City Project Support Officer John Ivan Palayao said in a phone interview that there is no update on whether the snake has already been caught.
"If it is caught and turned over to our office, we will bring it to the DENR Regional Wildlife Rescue Center," he added.
What to do if you see a king cobra
If you see a king cobra, it is important to stay calm and not approach it. King cobras are very venomous snakes, and a bite can be fatal.
If the snake is in a residential area, you should evacuate the area and call the authorities immediately. Do not try to catch or kill the snake yourself.
If you are bitten by a king cobra, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Anti-venom is available, but it is important to get it as soon as possible.
How to prevent king cobra encounters
There are a few things you can do to prevent king cobra encounters:
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking in areas where king cobras are known to live.
- Wear long pants and shoes when walking in areas where king cobras are known to live.
- Avoid walking in tall grass or bushes where king cobras could be hiding.
- If you see a king cobra, do not approach it. Back away slowly and contact the authorities.
King cobras are important members of the ecosystem, and they play a role in controlling populations of rodents and other small animals. However, they are also very dangerous snakes, and it is important to be aware of the risks if you live in an area where they are present.