King Cobras, Gila Monsters Seized From New York Home
August 13, 2018
New York state wildlife officials have seized three king cobras (Ophiophagus hannah), six Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum), and seven different turtle species from a New York man who kept more than 300 reptiles in his home.
King cobras feed almost entirely on other snakes, though they are known to also eat rodents and lizards.
The Department of Environmental Conservation said officers got a warrant to search the man’s home in Allegany, NY and found the illegal reptiles in the home. It is illegal in the state of New York to possess venomous snakes, and Gila monsters are listed as near threatened by the IUCN. It is unclear what turtle species were seized. The man has not yet been charged with a crime, according to WSMV.com, but faces charges.
The king cobra is probably the most popular venomous snake in the world due in part to its massive size and the fact that it raises its head with its hood spread when it becomes agitated. The snake is also respected for its capability to eat other large snakes, including smaller pythons in its range, such as reticulated and Burmese pythons. It can be found throughout much of South and Southeast Asia and can grow up to around 18 feet in length.
Gila monsters cannot survive solely on water contained in their prey, despite the seemingly high water content in the eggs and nestlings they eat.
The Gila monster is North America's largest lizard species. From the family Helodermatidae, the lizard grows 13-19 inches and can reach 24 inches in length, including the tail. They eat birds, eggs, smaller reptiles, and rodents in the wild. They can be found in desert and foothills in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Mexico.