*While his car is clearly marked with signs that say “Venomous reptiles onboard” and “I brake for snakes,” a teen may have been fatally wounded by one of his own animals.
But the snake, who animal control had been searching for since last Tuesday, no longer poses a threat to the community, as it is believed to be the snake that was found dead on the street after possibly being hit by a car.
The monocled cobra, a black and tan snake with a distinctive circle on its back and a tan under belly, is suspected to have fatally wounded Grant Thompson, an 18-year-old whose mother owns an exotic pet store. Thompson was found unresponsive by Austin-Travis County EMS crews who were responding to a welfare check request at a Lowe’s parking lot near the southbound Interstate 35 service road on Tuesday.
The teen, who also had other reptiles crated in the car, was pulled from the vehicle. He appeared to have puncture wounds on his wrist and was taken to the hospital in critical condition, according to officials, but died later that evening.
Austin police and animal control did not find any venomous animals inside Thompson’s car. But one specialist at the scene was still nervous.
“It’s a little scary, I don’t have a lot of experience with that. … The fact that we didn’t know what kind of species the cobra was, we had very little information,” said Giovanni Gracia. “We got into the car and got everything out of it, searched as well as we could, looked into the engine, under it, the wheel wells.”
Inside Thompson’s car police found one non-venomous snake in a crate, six tarantulas and a bullfrog, police said. All of them were taken to Austin Reptile Rescue.
When officials checked Thompson’s home in Temple, Texas, they found a cobra was missing. A spokesperson for Lowe’s said they were confident the cobra was not in its store or on its property.
Initial autopsy results for Thompson came back neither positive or negative for snake venom; instead the official paperwork said it is still “pending investigation.”
Watch a video report on this tragedy directly below.