ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - This weekend, the owner of an king cobra is searching his property after the snake escaped.
On Friday, Florida Fish and Wildlife set up traps in an attempt to capture it. They are not searching for it on Saturday, but say they are monitoring the situation.
The large king cobra went missing from an Orlando-area home. The 8-foot snake, which is venomous and extremely dangerous, escaped from a residence off of North Apopka-Vineland Road on Tuesday. It is olive green and yellow in color. Officers released a photograph of a similar snake (pictured in gallery over blue background) which is kept at the same home.
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| PHOTO GALLERY: Pictured are images from Reptile World Serpetarium in St. Cloud, followed by search efforts to locate the snake on Thursday afternoon and Wednesday evening. |
"My experience with escaped snakes is they're usually caught pretty close to where they got away," said George Van Horn with Reptile World Serpetarium in St. Cloud, where more than 100 cobras are handled on a daily basis where researchers can study their venom. "If there's a lot of undeveloped land, the chances are, they'll never see this snake again." Van Horn said the good news is that the snake wouldn't want to be around people. "They don't chase people," he added.
Mike Kennedy is the snake's owner. You may have seen him on his Discovery Channel reality show "Airplane Repo," or on YouTube, where he has posted a video demonstrating his interactions with a king cobra.
Wildlife officers said Kennedy has a permit for the snake, but they have yet to determine if there will be any charges related to the reptile's escape.
"I'm worried!" said Judi Brown, who lives in a nearby subdivision. "FWC says it's an inescapable room permit. Really? Cause it's escaped! How is it inescapable?"
That's a question on a lot of people's minds. Volunteer Bob Cross works for Critter Capture Services and he came out on Thursday to try and help FWC catch the snake. "It's hard. I mean, because all snakes coil up in a very small area ... the size of a shoe box, you know? So it's kind of a needle in a haystack, but we're going to take a stab at it."
Nearby Clarcona Elementary School didn't like those odds and notified parents in a voice message. "We are moving all outside activities, including PE and recess, inside," parents were told. The school is just three minutes from Kennedy's property.
Officers went door to door warning neighbors about the king cobra. "I would prefer they move it to a zoo, yea. I know the guy loves them, but I would really prefer -- especially since its escaped once!" Brown added. "I hope they don't renew the permit on at least the snakes."
According to FWC records, Kennedy has a history of citations, dating back to 2001. He paid a $266 fine, plus court costs, when a cobra escaped from his home when he resided in Orlando's College Park neighborhood in 2001. According to FWC, the snake got loose in a neighbor's garage. In 2004, inspectors noted that Kennedy failed to keep safe and secure housing for a rattlesnake. They also noted an unlicensed crocodile.
If you happen to see the King Cobra, please call FWC at 888-404-FWCC (3922), and do not approach the snake.