Missing king cobra captured, returned to owner

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ORLANDO, Fla. - A king cobra that escaped from an Orlando home in early September and was the subject of a massive search effort has been found.

The snake, which escaped its cage at a home on North Apopka Vineland Road, was discovered at a nearby home late Wednesday night.

Cynthia Mullvain called Orange County Animal Services after she said she was in her garage putting items in her clothes dryer when she heard a hissing sound.

Animal Services officers and police responded and found the snake under the dryer.


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Animal Services officer Billy Ledford said the snake was aggressive.

"He didn't give us an easy time catching him, let's just say that," Ledford said.

The 8-foot long snake was captured and returned to owner Mike Kennedy's wife Valerie Kennedy, who confirmed that it was Elvis, their king cobra.

"We thought he would probably just stay in the woods. I'm glad he surfaced," Valerie Kennedy said. "He's an endangered animal, he's a shy animal and he's been through a lot. The community has been through a lot. Our family has been through a lot, so I'm just thankful it's ended up positive."

The non-native, venomous snake escaped from the Kennedys' home, which is used as a rescue facility for exotic animals.

Mike Kennedy was fined $366 after authorities said he admitted to waiting 24 hours to report the escape.

Wildlife officials said they inspected the snake's cage in the Kennedy home to ensure it was secure, before returning the snake.

Mullvain said she has no problem with the snake being returned to the owner, as long as it's not allowed to get free again.

"It's doesn't bother me if they will make it real strict and improve his housing of them," she said.

The snake's escape led to a massive search effort, which included the setting of traps in an attempt to capture the animal.

Students at Clarcona Elementary School weren't allowed to play outside for nearly two weeks after the snake was reported missing. Kennedys' home is about a mile from the school.

Channel 9's Mario Boone is covering this story and will have a live report on Eyewitness News at 4 p.m.

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