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Wednesday, September 24, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pet King Cobra Bites Everett Man

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

A 39-year-old Everett man was in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle today after his pet king cobra bit him twice yesterday.

Police said Mark Hess was playing with the 3-foot-long, venomous snake at his apartment when he felt the animal bump against him.

Unaware that he was bitten, Hess locked the cobra back in its serpentarium, said Elliott Woodall, Everett police spokesman. Three hours later, Hess called a friend to tell him he was feeling weak, having trouble breathing and slurring his speech. The friend called 911.

Hess was airlifted to Harborview, where he was being treated with anti-venom medication.

Hospital spokesman Larry Zalin said Hess was bitten in the right hand and left calf. He was awake and alert this morning, and his condition was upgraded from critical to serious.

The cobra was left locked in the serpentarium at Hess' apartment in the 8600 block of 18th Avenue West in Everett. But police said animal-control officers would probably confiscate the pet later today.

It is illegal to own a venomous snake, Woodall said.

Fully grown, the king cobra can reach more than 15 feet in length and pack enough venom to kill 100 people.

Vikki Ortiz's phone message number is 206-515-5627. Her e-mail address is: vort-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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