Cobra sighting false alarm, but residents still on edge

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ORLANDO, Fla. - A woman thought she saw a king cobra that disappeared from its enclosure at an Orlando man's home on North Apopka-Vineland Road earlier this month, but Florida Fish and Wildlife officials told Channel 9 it was a false alarm.

When they learned of the sighting, authorities set up a 100-yard perimeter near the Steeplechase subdivision where the snake first disappeared.

FWC had several inspectors on scene with wildlife officers and experienced snake experts who determined the woman actually saw a native, non-venomous snake.


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They were able to analyze photos she took.

“I think it got the attention back to it and the attention is warranted,” said resident Marry Anne Ferrell.

The king cobra escaped from owner Mike Kennedy's home on the 4800 block of North Apopka Vineland Road, which is used as a rescue facility for exotic animals.

Residents in the area said they’ve been on edge since the snake escaped nearly a month ago.

“I was hoping the deputies with their shotguns over there would find it first,” said resident Judi Brown.

Kennedy was fined $366 after authorities said he admitted to waiting 24 hours to report the escape, but officials wouldn't tell Channel 9 whether his license to have the snakes would be taken away.

It's not the first time one of Kennedy's king cobras has escaped. He's been cited six times in the past for violating rules, officials said.

"Coincidentally, he's lost snakes twice. His fault or not, when are we going to stop?" resident Judy Brown asked.

Kennedy's first king cobra escape happened in 2001.

He was cited in 2004 for improper caging of a rattlesnake and for unlicensed crocodiles.

In 2013 he was written up again for improper licensing.