An 8-foot cobra, one of the most venomous snakes in the world, is missing in Orlando after escaping from its owner's home, forcing area residents to arm themselves and cancel school activities.
The cobra, which escaped from a licensed and professional snake handler, is making news nationwide as local authorities warn Florida residents to be cautious and avoid approaching the snake if they see it, WFTV reported.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are on the ground looking for the cobra, which escaped on Wednesday, the station said. Area school officials said all outdoor activities would be moved inside until the snake is caught.
WFTV said the property from which the snake disappeared is registered to Mike Kennedy, who runs Dragon Ranch, a nonprofit to rescue exotic animals. WESH confirmed that Kennedy is the snake's owner
, and also said he's the star of Discovery Channel's "Airplane Repo" show.
The snake's owner is required by law to report a missing reptile, and Kennedy could be in trouble for not doing so immedately, WESH said. The cobra reportedly got out of its cage on Tuesday, but was reported missing to authorities on Wednesday.
"I’m a little concerned. I have a small cat at home, and snakes like cats," area resident Bryan Shattuck told WFTV, which reported that a bite from a king cobra contains enough toxin to kill 20 people.
James McLeod, who lives nearby, told WESH, "I'm going to go load my guns. Well, they're already loaded, but I'm going to have them ready for sure. I mean, that thing's big enough to take you down for sure."
The idea of an escaped venomous king cobra, which not only has a hashtag #OrlandoCobra but also a Twitter handle @KingCobraORL, drew online comments, some infusing comedy with lines like "Flute players unite":
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