Authorities in Orlando, Florida, are on the lookout for an 8-foot king cobra that escaped from its owner's home on Wednesday.
Mike Kennedy, who operates an exotic animal shelter on his property, reported the venomous snake missing. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers said he's licensed to own exotic animals, and that he is an experienced snake handler.
Fish and Wildlife officials urged residents not to try and catch the green-and-yellow snake if they see it, but instead to call the agency's hotline immediately. Although the snake will be primarily interested in hunting small animals for food, it may become extremely dangerous if cornered by humans.
A bite from a king cobra can kill an elephant, according to CNN. In July, a monocled cobra was blamed for the death of a Texas teen. The snake went missing after biting the boy and was later found dead.
King cobras are native to India and southeast Asia and can grow up to 18 feet long. In the wild, they primarily feed on other snakes, but sometimes prey on small mammals. That has residents worried.
"I’m a little concerned. I have a small cat at home, and snakes like cats," Bryan Shattuck, who lives in the area, told WFTV. The station pointed out that Kennedy's home is also located within a mile of an elementary school.
Kennedy's shelter, the Dragon Ranch, is a nonprofit organization that rescues and cares for exotic animals such as crocodiles, leopards and cougars.
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