K9s used to help sniff out missing monocled cobra in Ocala

OCALA, Fla. — Officials from the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission have begun using K9s to search for a missing monocled cobra, they told Eyewitness News on Tuesday.

The 2-foot venomous cobra escaped its cage March 13 after an apprentice handling the snake left the cage open at a home near Northeast Ninth Street and Fifth Street in Ocala, officials said.

Wildlife officials have searched inside Brian Purdy’s home and the neighborhood without any luck.

Officials aid they're considering a fumigation plan for the the home because they still believe the snake inside the residence.

FWC officials said they’ve now shifted to “periodic checks” and that they’re “staying close to the situation.”

FWC officials said that since the cobra escaped, they’ve notified residents in person, and Ocala police released a reverse 911 call. Venom One, an anti-venom bank, was notified of the escape.

  • More than 10 complete searches have been conducted of the reptile room, all other rooms in the house, furniture, boxes, closets, appliances, floor vents, crawl space, attic and surrounding property.
  • FWC established round-the-clock security and search assistance.
  • FWC officers have searched adjacent properties' crawl spaces and property.
  • Baiting efforts were undertaken.
  • Trapping efforts were undertaken.
  • Two X-ray exams of monitor lizard were performed to determine if it had eaten the cobra.
  • Remote cameras were employed to enhance the scope of the search in any cracks or crevasses where the snake might have hidden.
  • Electrical ground boxes were opened by city utilities and searched by FWC officers.
  • Approximately 20 FWC officers and investigators have been involved in search efforts since the escape.
  • The FWC K-9 unit was deployed in the surrounding area to search for the cobra.