Cobra on the loose: 8-Foot Cobra Orlando

Published: September 3, 2015

Cobra on the loose: 8-Foot Cobra Orlando, Wildlife officials continue to search for an 8-foot king cobra that recently escaped from an Orlando home near an elementary school.

The snake was reported missing Wednesday to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by its owner, a licensed and bonded individual, officials said.

The privately owned nonnative, venomous snake escaped a home in the 4800 block of North Apopka Vineland Road in Orlando, according to FWC. Clarcona Elementary School is less than a mile from the home.

“(There will be) patrols out here tomorrow just in case there’s any kids walking to school or anything like that,” said FWC’s Chris Roszkowiak.

The school alerted parents via voicemail, asking them to walk with their students to school, if possible. Also, the school said there will be no outside recess Thursday and classes in portables will be moved to other rooms.

News 6 has learned the owner, Mike Kennedy, is a well-known handler. He houses and rescues exotic animals at his home. A website shows photos of Kennedy with several different animals.

“The last thing I need is a king cobra sneaking around the bushes,” said neighbor James McCloud.

The green-and-yellow male snake looks identical to an image provided by FWC of a longer female at the same location. All other venomous snakes are in their locked cages and are accounted for.

“We, after talking to the handler, he seems pretty comfortable that the snake is going to be close to his residence right now, which is a heavily wooded area,” said Roszkowiak.

Officials said a permit is required to possess a king cobra and owners are required to report escaped animals immediately.

News 6 found that the owner lost another King Cobra back in 2001 and also faced citations for not keeping reptiles in their proper enclosures and disobeying wildlife rules.

FWC officers and staff canvassed the area Wednesday evening in search of the snake. Officials said anyone who may come across the snake is asked to report the sighting to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).


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