Escaped cobra on loose in Ocala, FWC says

2-foot-long yellow monocled cobra, escaped from home on Monday night

By Melodi Smith - Multimedia Journalist , Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

OCALA, Fla. - Authorities are searching for a 2-foot-long cobra that escaped from its owners home and was reported missing on Monday, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Monday at 11:15 p.m. the venomous reptile permit holder contacted the FWC to inform them that his snake had escaped its enclosure at 9 p.m. in the 900 block of Northeast Fifth Street.

The Ocala Star-Banner reports, a man was shadowing the snake's owner so he could get a license to handle poisonous or venomous reptiles and snakes, was at the home late Monday while the owner was working.

Ocala police said he opened the cover of the cage and the snake jumped at him and then slid away. The man called the owner who rushed home. When they couldn't find the snake in the concealed room, they called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Wildlife officials said the apprentice shouldn't have been left alone in the sealed room.

FWC investigators searched the property along with Ocala police and Marion County Fire Rescue for the yellow monocled cobra but did not find the snake, FWC said.

Nearby residents were notified about the escaped snake.

[INTERACTIVE: Find venomous snake permit holders in Florida]

"Residents in the area are urged to use caution until this snake has been captured," the FWC said in a news release. "Although reclusive by nature, cobras are highly venomous and will strike out if they feel threatened."

In September 2015, an 8-foot king cobra named Elvis escaped from an Orlando home near Clarcona Elementary School.

The cobra belonged to Mike Kennedy, host of the Discovery Channel’s “Airplane Repo,” and he was licensed to have the cobra, according to FWC.

The cobra was captured more than a month later in October 2015 after a woman who was putting clothes in her dryer heard a hissing sound and discovered the snake behind the dryer.

Kennedy was charged with holding wildlife in an improper manner that caused it to escape, not maintaining proper housing and failing to report the escape.

Kennedy's trial is expected to begin March 15.

Anyone who sees the snake should remain stay at a safe distance and immediately call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 (FWCC) or *FWC or #FWC on cellphones.

The FWC is investigating this incident.

Stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this developing story.

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