Cobras are used in the production of “snake wine”--a big jug of wine with a dead snake preserved in it--so breeding them can be a money-making venture. It can also be a dangerous one, though, because one unlicensed snake farm had a security failure, and more than 200 extremely dangerous baby cobras escaped off into the nearby area.
According to Shanghaiist, the snakes are monocled cobra, which is one of the more deadly snakes. In Thailand, most deaths from snake bites are caused by monocled cobras. The local government in Chunyi, Nanjing, where the snakes escaped, told residents that the baby snakes were much less dangerous than mature ones. That probably didn’t make them feel that much better, though.
The government reportedly found out about the great snake escape earlier this week when a villager found one and reported it to the authorities. The snakes had actually escaped in August, though, and the snake ranchers just didn’t tell anybody. That decision makes a bit of sense because the farm was an unlicensed operation, but it was not exactly neighborly to lose 200 venomous snakes and not tell anybody.
It could have been a lot worse, though. The farm reportedly had 1,500 baby cobras, and only 200 got out.
150 of the baby snakes have been caught or killed, and authorities are looking for the rest. They also stationed medical personnel with antivenom in the village, just in case.