RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Animal control officers in Riverside have wrangled their fair share of exotic animals, including crocodile lizards, monkeys and Burmese pythons – but never before have had to deal with a rubber cobra.

A woman called Riverside County’s Department of Animal Services after spotting a large snake, possibly a cobra, on her neighbor’s front lawn in the unincorporated community of Woodcrest.

(credit: Riverside County Department Of Animal Services)

An officer checked out the slithering suspect at the property in the 17600 block of Log Hill Road – but it turned out be a rubber snake. Officer Adam Haisten said that while it looked real at a distance, up close, the snake had a blank expression and rubber teeth.

Haisten said he reassured the woman who had reported the snake, who was apologetic and embarrassed.

“I could hear her embarrassment and she couldn’t help to start laughing,” Haisten said in the statement. “But she was also apologizing profusely. I am pretty sure I heard her husband in the background laughing hysterically.”

Several communities in Riverside County, including Woodcrest, are rural areas with all manner of animals kept on farms and ranches so the county’s Department of Animal Services has in recent years rescued monkeys, endangered bighorn sheep, piglets, miniature horses, wild burros and a 200-pound tortoise.

Even though the rubber cobra turned out to be fake, officials say it was better to be than sorry. As for the neighbor, Haisten said he left a department card that read: “We came by for the snake in the front yard.”

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