Kathy Kehoe, the Bucks County great-grandmother who killed a cobra slithering in her garden, does not recommend that others do what she did. But she says she thought she had to act.
“I didn’t want to kill it, but I had no way to contain it," she said, adding that concern about children living in her Fairless Hills apartment complex prompted her to grab a shovel and slay the creature.
“I did not want it hiding in the building,” said Kehoe, 73, a school bus driver who has two grandchildren and a great-grandson. “I stand by what I did.”
She said she believes the cobra escaped from a menagerie of venomous snakes that officials found in a neighboring building in March, removing 20 of them. And she said she fears others might still be on the loose, based on the deplorable condition in which she heard the snakes were found.
Kehoe said she saw the cobra on the patio Monday afternoon, after blue jays kicked up a racket, sparking her curiosity.
She watched it for a bit, taking some pictures and keeping an eye on it as it slithered into her yard.
Then, Kehoe then grabbed a shovel and moved in on the cobra.
“He turned,” she said. “Thank God I was quicker than it was.”
She held it down for 20 minutes until animal control, summoned by a neighbor, arrived and determined it was dead, Kehoe said.
Kehoe said she has a “healthy respect for snakes,” having grown up in rural McKean County, in a part of Pennsylvania where timber rattlesnakes are common and where citizens hold rattlesnake roundups at this time of year.
Still, she said, “don’t do what I did. Call 911.”
Also, she said, she wishes people would not collect exotic animals.