8-foot king cobra escapes: King Cobra Orlando

Published: September 3, 2015

8-foot king cobra escapes: King Cobra Orlando, A king cobra has reportedly escaped from its owner in the Orlando area, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The escaped king cobra was reported Wednesday by its owner, who is a licensed and bonded to care for exotic animals, but the snake actually went missing Tuesday, officials said.

The privately owned, non-native, venomous snake was reported to have escaped from its cage at a home at 4858 North Apopka Vineland Road in Orlando.

“It wasn’t deliberately let out from what we can see. Looks like it escaped its cage it was in,” said Capt. Chris Roszkowiak of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The snake is approximately 8 feet and is green and yellow. A permit is required to possess a king cobra and owners are required to report escaped animals immediately.

The owner, Mike Kennedy, is an exotic animal dealer and star of the Discovery Channel reality show “Airplane Repo.” Officials said he could face criminal penalties for not telling authorities about the escape immediately.

Officials believe the snake is likely to stay close to home in a densely wooded area.

Clarcona Elementary School, which is a half-mile from the house, took extra precautions because of the snake threat.

“We are moving all outside activities, including P.E. and recess, inside. And we will be relocating our portable classrooms into the main building,” Clarcona Elementary School Principal Robert Strenth said in a voice message to parents.

An Orange County Public Schools representative said Clarcona Elementary School was the only school affected by the snake search.

Parents and neighbors are especially wary.

“They need to do something about these types of animals around the schools,” said parent LeRoy Bell. “It’s troubling. If I (didn’t have) to pick my son up today, I was going to come down and get him anyway.”

Bell said sex predators have to be a certain distance from schools, so should dangerous animals.

“I’m going to go load my guns. Well, they’re already loaded, but I’m going to have them ready for sure. I mean, that thing’s big enough to take you down for sure,” said James McLeod, who lives nearby.

Officials said Kennedy is a licensed and professional snake hunter, but neighbors said more regulations need to be put in place when it comes to keeping dangerous animals as pets.

“No snakes in the home, period. Snakes belong in the snakes’ environment and leave them there,” neighbor John Roberts said.

FWC officers and staff are actively searching the area for the snake. If members of the public come across this snake, it is advised that they do not handle it and instead report the sighting to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (888-404-3922).

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