A North Carolina man is in critical condition after being bitten by a venomous king cobra that he owned.
Ali Iyoob of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, called emergency services on the evening of May 2 and said that he had been bitten by his pet cobra, WRAL reported. The man was reportedly driving to the hospital when he made the call.
Iyoob told 911 dispatchers that he was suffering blurry vision and was "sweating like crazy" after being bitten, and that he was trying to "get to the hospital as fast as I can." He eventually pulled over and an ambulance picked him up from there.
Jennifer Marshburn, a friend of Iyoob, told WRAL that the man remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit as of May 3, where he was recovering from surgery and breathing with the help of a ventilator. Marshburn also said that anti-venom for the snake bite had to be delivered to the hospital from a zoo in Columbia, South Carolina, around 1 a.m. May 3.
The cobra that bit Iyoob was reportedly one of more than 20 snakes that the man was keeping illegally in his home, Orange County Animal Services officials said in a May 3 press conference. Some of the snakes were venomous and two of them were constrictive.
Orange County law prohibits residents from "keeping, sheltering, feeding, harboring, or taking care of" any kind of wild or dangerous animal. Anyone who violates this ordinance is subject to misdemeanor criminal charges and a civil penalty of up to $50 per animal.
The county's Animal Services Director, Bob Marotto, said that the snakes will be removed from Iyoob's home and taken to a zoo in Asheboro, North Carolina.
Iyoob studied biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, although a spokesperson for the university said he never graduated from the school.
The man's Facebook page contains many photos of him posing with animals, including snakes. His page says, "I go to work and play with bees and then come home and play with snakes."
Marotto told WRAL that he did not believe the snakes in Iyoob's care were being kept for research purposes.
King cobras are the largest venomous snake species and can grow up to 18 feet in length, according to National Geographic. They can deliver enough neurotoxin to kill 20 people -- or one elephant -- in a single bite.