cantil, all good questions. I think it's because of the hoggie's mimicry. Since some puff and do 'bluff strikes' when threatened.
Any articles I've read on them have brought up the mistaken identity thing, but they might all just be getting the info from a single source and not quoting it.
I pointed out to the newspaper that they can seem aggressive when threatened but it's bluff, and no matter what if people don't have a positive ID, they shouldn't handle the snake under any circumstances, as the wise folks in the venomous forum have pointed out many times.
I think someone's bucking to ride the excitement over the exotic animal bans, and decided to stir up a little more controversy by saying someone "lost" a "venomous" snake. Maybe it's really a legit story, maybe not.
Probably not going to see much good come of it though.