A 2-foot-long cobra went missing on Monday evening from a home in Ocala, Fla., CBS affiliate WKMG-TV reported. The reptile’s owner, Brian Purdy, contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to report that it had escaped an enclosure.
A man was shadowing the snake’s owner so he could get a license to handle poisonous or venomous reptiles and snakes. He was at the home late Monday while the owner was working, reports the Ocala Star-Banner.
Police say he opened the cover of the cage and the snake jumped at him and then slid away. The man called Purdy who rushed home. When they couldn’t find the snake in the room, they called FWC.
Wildlife officials say the apprentice shouldn’t have been left alone in the sealed room.
The Ocala Star-Banner reports that a “large lizard” may have ingested the cobra — but the results of an X-ray are inconclusive, according to a veterinarian.
The yellow monocled cobra is dangerous which led authorities to warn neighbors.
“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.” According to LiveScience.com, Cobras pack a potentially deadly bite with a neurotoxic venom that spreads rapidly through a person’s bloodstream. If left untreated, the poison can stop a person’s breathing within 30 minutes and be fatal within an hour.
Amid the seriousness of the situation, someone was clever enough to create a Twitter account for the cobra.
The first tweet reads: “Finally freeeeeeee! But isn’t today unseasonably cold for Florida in the middle of March? What gives, science?”
Finally freeeeeeee! But isn't today unseasonably cold for Florida in the middle of March? What gives, science?
— Ocala Cobra (@OcalaCobra) March 14, 2017
This is the second deadly cobra to slip out of an enclosure in Central Florida in recent years. In September 2015, an 8-foot king cobra named Elvis escaped from an Orlando home near an elementary school. It wasn’t until a month later when a woman found it hissing behind her dryer, reports WKMG-TV.
Officials said the cobra has distinctive multi-color markings and is reclusive by nature, but could strike if it feels threatened.
“Members of the public should not approach or attempt to capture this snake,” FWC officials said in a news release.
FWC said Purdy, who has other venomous snakes at his home in Ocala, is properly licensed to keep the reptiles. Officials said all his other snakes have been accounted for and secured.
If someone happens to spot it, officers say to immediately call FWC’s wildlife hotline at 888-404-3922.