A report of a poisonous snake slithering across the lawn of a Woodcrest home turned out to be no cause for alarm, but it did add a little comic relief to a Riverside County animal control officer's routine, officials said Monday.
According to Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh, the agency received a call from a resident in the 17600 block of Log Hill Road Saturday, regarding a possible King Cobra making its way across a neighbor's lawn.
Animal control Officer Adam Haisten was sent to investigate and immediately spotted the supposed lethal snake on the grass. After carefully examining it from a safe distance, however, he relaxed.
"Although rather realistic ... up close, the blank expression and rubber teeth pretty much lowered the threat level to zero," Haisten said. "I couldn't help but start laughing."
The mean-looking but harmless rubber snake was left where it lay, and Haisten then called the concerned resident.
"I could hear her embarrassment, and she couldn't help to start laughing," the officer said. "But she also was apologizing profusely. I am pretty sure I heard her husband in the background laughing hysterically."
Haisten told the woman he understood how the mistake could be made, and he noted that it was "better to be safe than sorry."
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According to Welsh, the Department of Animal Services has captured a number of exotic creatures over the years -- including a 15-foot Burmese python. However, cobras have not been in the mix.
For laughs, Haisten left a note on the fake snake owner's door, advising that the county had come by to seize it.
No citation was issued.