The PJ Tatler

Where in the World Is that Escaped King Cobra?

It’s been three days since a King Cobra snake belonging to Mike Kennedy, host of the Discovery Channel’s reality show Airplane Repo, escaped from his cage in Orlando and set the neighborhood on edge. Indeed, most of the city appears to have gone a little nuts.

A local school went on near lockdown with students being kept inside. Pets are being kept on a short leash, and people are calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with false reports of sightings.

Actually, experts say the snake probably hasn’t gone very far. But the 10-acre property is heavily wooded and the snakehunters aren’t making much progress.

The owner of the escaped animal, Mike Kennedy, had permits for the snake, the commission said in a statement. Florida requires a license to “capture, keep, possess or exhibit any poisonous or venomous reptiles.” Kennedy stars on the reality television show Airplane Repo. “Traded two baby crocodiles for two king cobras today,” Kennedy wrote on his public Facebook page in December 2014. Kennedy said he’s very concerned about his snake’s wellbeing and believes the search is “over the top.”

Ten experienced snake handlers searched the home the snake escaped from but were unable to find it. The property spans 10 acres, allowing for many snake-size hiding spots. Four additional commission officers were stationed at the perimeter of the property to keep an eye out for the snake. Other officers were sent to a nearby elementary school, for fear the cobra had slithered into a classroom. A commission biologist created a capture plan for the cobra, but thus far it’s been unsuccessful.

Box traps are being used to try to bait the cobra into returning. The snake’s favorite food was used.

“The traps are set and we’re hopeful for a positive result. We will remain vigilant in the area and continue to monitor the trapping and search efforts,” the commission said in a statement.

For the record, King Cobras are among the most venomous snakes in the world. A single bite can fell an elephant. This one is pretty much a baby — only 8 feet long. Full-grown cobras can grow to 18 feet.

The Onion chimed in with its own singular brand of humor:

A King Cobra snake, a venomous species that can kill an elephant with one bite, is currently on the loose in Orlando, FL, with officials confirming that the licensed owner violated protocol by waiting to report the escape for a full day after the snake went missing. What do you think?

“This is exactly why cobra ownership should be left to only the most serious amateurs.”

Bryce Winegar
Scaffolding Builder

“Florida residents must be fearing for their elephants’ lives.”

Sophia Veron
Assistant Interrogator

“I always wait 24 hours to report a missing snake. Sometimes they’re just blowing off steam.”

Bernard Tripp
Systems Analyst