A venomous king cobra has escaped from its owner’s house, located in Orlando, Florida. Authorities have issued a warning for the locals to stay on guard if they encounter it.
The runaway pet is 8 feet long and its venom is considered to be one of the deadliest in the world. Its owner, identified by property records as Mike Kennedy, is in charge of the Dragon Ranch, a non-profit organization for rescued exotic animals.
Kennedy reported the snake as missing in the last 24 hours and now neighbors are on alert. The danger is significant especially because the home is located less than a mile from Clarcona Elementary School.
“I’m going to go load my guns. Well, they’re already loaded, but I’m going to have them for sure”, explained James McLeod, one of the locals.
The green and white reptile was privately owned and it has last been seen in the 4800 block of North Apopka Vineland Road, in Orlando. It is expected that the non-native venomous snake will remain in the vicinity of its home, in a patch of woods.
According to Captain Chris Roszkowiak of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the deadly cobra escaped accidentally, through the bars of its enclosure.
The owner had a license for keeping exotic animals and immediately reported that the reptile was missing. This means that he followed the required procedures and most likely will not face any charges for the unfortunate incident. His other venomous snakes are still in their cages and aren’t likely to escape.
Members of the public are advised not to approach the reptile if they encounter it. King Cobras are known for the potency of their venom: in a single bite, they can deliver enough neurotoxin to kill 20 people. A solitary attack can even cause the death of an elephant.
Wildlife experts warn that although these cobras normally avoid humans, their behavior can be unpredictable especially if they feel threatened.
Due to the danger this reptile poses, residents have been urged to immediately report any sighting to Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, who are currently canvassing the area in search of the missing pet. Anyone who has any information pertaining to the snakes’ whereabouts should call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline, at 888-404-FWCC (888-404-3922).
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