Search Called Off For Escaped King Cobra In Florida

September 21, 2015

A king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) that escaped its enclosure September 1 is still on the loose, provided it is still alive. The 8-foot venomous snake was reported missing by its keeper, reality TV star Mike Kennedy on September 2. Kennedy said a tree branch hit the roof of his garage where the snake’s enclosure was kept. The hole in the roof in his garage let in just enough storm water to soak the cage, which caused it to become weak and soggy, giving the king cobra enough space to escape through the screen. According to News 13, Kennedy had been sighted in the past for not having enclosures that were secure enough to house venomous snakes.  

Kennedy, star of the reality TV show Airplane Repo, was fined $366 for not reporting the snake missing the day he knew the snake was gone. Kennedy’s property, located in a heavily wooded area, was searched extensively and traps were placed in an effort to capture the snake but those endeavors proved unsuccessful. 

Kennedy’s five acre property is a refuge for exotic animals and are not his pets, he told News 13. In addition to the king cobras that he keeps on the property, he also keeps crocodiles, alligators, other snakes and a leopard. He has permits for all of the animals and says the publicity surrounding the escape of the king cobra has been tough on him and his family. Many of the snakes on his property were seizures that were brought to him by the local police departments. 

If you live in the Orlando area and you see the snake, which is described as green and yellow, do not approach the reptile, officials said. Officials urge anyone who sees the snake to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

King cobras are the largest venomous snake in the world and can grow to 12 to 18 feet in length. They are native from southern Asia to the Philippine islands and can live 12 to 20 years. Their primary food source is other snakes, including other cobras.

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