Owner of venomous pet zebra cobra that escaped NC home pleads guilty, must give up snake, pay $13K

RALEIGH, N.C. — The owner of a venomous zebra cobra snake that escaped from its Raleigh home in June before being captured a few days later pleaded guilty on Aug. 6.

The charges were for not properly reporting the snake that escaped.

Christopher Gifford, 21, was found to have violated NC General Statute Chapter 14, Article 55, according to WTVD.

The statute states that if a person owns an exotic venomous snake, the owner must know and have labeled each of its species, know the proper antivenom that would be required for it, have a bite and escape plan, and if an escape does happen, the owner must notify law enforcement immediately.

According to Raleigh police, Gifford’s criminal summons included 36 counts of improper enclosures, three counts of mislabeled enclosures and one count of failure to report escape.

The judge accepted Gifford’s plea on Aug. 6 and ordered him to serve 12-month supervised probation and pay $13,000 in restitution--some of which will pay for the overtime of first responders who worked the case. Gifford also agreed to turn over 75 snakes and not possess any other snakes for a year, WTVD reported.

Gifford shows off his large collection of exotic reptiles on his TikTok page, where he has a large following. He posted on Facebook in April saying he was bitten by his own West African Green Mamba.

Antivenom from Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina had to be rushed to the hospital in order to save Gifford’s life.

”In all honesty, I shouldn’t have lived and I thank God that I’m here today,” he wrote in the Facebook post.

Raleigh police previously said that they worked with outside resources to secure the other exotic venomous reptiles that were found in his home.

The snake was caught on June 30.

(WATCH BELOW: Venomous zebra cobra loose in North Carolina neighborhood)