| Updated at: 1358 PST, Thursday, September 16, 2010|
BEIJING: Residents of a township in southwest China have been running scared after more than 160 cobras escaped from an illegal breeding laboratory, state media said Thursday.
People in Shijiao township in the huge Chongqing municipality have found the deadly snakes in outdoor toilets, kitchens and on the streets since they escaped earlier this month, the Information Times said.
"The other day, Zhang Erfen had just gone into the toilet when we heard a loud scream and she came running out while trying to hike up her pants" after coming face-to-face with a cobra, the paper quoted one villager as saying.
A villager identified as Cai Yong has admitted to raising up to 1,900 cobras in an unlicensed breeding centre in an abandoned schoolhouse. It was not clear if he had been arrested.
Most of the 160 cobras have either been caught or killed by villagers but "five or six" remain unaccounted for, the paper said.
Local health authorities have sent doses of anti-venom to the township, reports said.