The search for an Orlando king cobra has come to an end, without the eight-foot-long venomous snake being found.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that a king cobra, nearly 10-foot long, escaped from its owner in the Orlando area on Tuesday, September 1. Mike Kennedy, its owner, notified the commission a day after the snake’s disappearance, launching a 15-day search.
Kennedy, who is licensed and bonded to care for exotic animals, was issued a $366 citation for “failure to immediately report the escape of a non-indigenous venomous reptile.”
According to Newsweek, reported via MSN, Kennedy had returned from a two-day trip on September 1 when he noticed that a large limb had landed on the roof of his garage, leaving a hole which allowed water to seep in. The water caused damage to the king cobra’s habitat, giving it the opportunity to escape. Kennedy believes he was able to slither through a gap between its cage and some netting.
“Most likely nobody is going to see it,” Capt. Chris Roszkowiak, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, explained at the time. “We believe it’s going to stay on the property here, which is a heavily wooded area. But on the remote chance it does leave this area and if someone does see it, please call our number so we can try to recapture the snake. But please do not approach it, don’t corner it or let any animals at it.”
The wildlife officials diligently search Kennedy’s property and the surrounding areas to no avail. They even set bait traps with smaller snakes, the cobra’s favorite food.
“We are no longer on foot patrol searching the inter woods,” Greg Workman, a commission spokesman, said, adding that the search wasn’t completely over. “[We’re] still monitoring the traps.”
More than a dozen officials patrolled the area, keeping an eye out for the snake, even monitoring a nearby elementary school that had to postpone their outdoor activities for the safety of the 1,007 students. With the search being called off, the Clarcona Elementary School has reopened the outdoor playground for recess.
“Of course my primary concern is that nobody gets hurt,” Kennedy said. “The chances of that animal hurting somebody are extremely remote. These woods are full of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, coral snakes – he’s just another snake out there. He’s fast, agile, he sees you coming long before you ever see him and he’s out of your way – he just wants to stay hidden.”
If the snake is not dead, wildlife officials are concerned about the effects it can have on Florida’s ecosystem.
“We define an invasive species as something that when released can establish spread and cause harm. Certainly, the king cobra can cause harm by its very nature,” Craig Martin, branch chief of aquatic invasive species with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, explained.
[Photo via Shutterstock]