Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Snake expert hunts "cobra"
Sighted on a south Wales river
A snake expert is scouring the banks of a south Wales beauty-spot in a bid to capture a seven-foot "cobra".
Members of the public have been warned to keep away from the River Tawe near Pontardawe, south Wales, after a series of sightings.
Police officers are patrolling the riverbank amid fears the snake could be a deadly water cobra.
Snake expert Kevin Greedy is going to spend 12 hours hunting the beast.
He believes it may have been released into the wild by an owner who could not cope with the seven-foot snake.
"It is not like having a hamster or a dog. These take a lot more looking after," he said.
"My main concern are the reptiles. We have got a lot of irresponsible people out there who do not know what they are doing."
Mr Greedy has all the equipment he needs for his snake hunt including the essential snake food - dead rats.
He says the snake could be the deadly Water Cobra or the not-so-lethal False Water Cobra.
He will not know until he can see inside its mouth.
However, he is taking no chances - the South Wales Police helicopter is standing by to take him to hospital if he is bitten.
Chief Inspector Phil Bevan, of South Wales Police, agrees the snake could have been released into the wild after growing too big.
"We have had three sightings of a large snake in the water and we are treating this seriously.
"The sightings are of a seven-foot-long brown snake. On one occasion it reared up its head four feet into the air showing a hood around its neck.
"From the descriptions of its markings and the distinctive hooded, rearing action of its neck we are of the opinion it is a cobra and that it is a big one."
Mr Greedy has already found a good home for the snake at the West Midlands Safari Park.
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