Trappers try to lure king cobra with dead snakes

Posted at 7:19 PM, Sep 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-04 19:19:01-04

ORLANDO — It takes a snake to catch a snake. At least to catch a king cobra.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have set traps with dead snakes as bait in hopes an 8-foot long king cobra missing in Orlando, Florida, will be snared looking for its next meal.

The deadly snake has been missing since Wednesday when it escaped from its cage on Mike Kennedy’s property on North Apopka Vineland Road. The snake escaped from its cage because of weather-related events, Kennedy said.

After a series of storms, a limb fell on the house, where the snake’s cage is. The ensuing flooding allowed the snake to escape its cage.

Ten people are searching the 10-acre property where the king cobra went missing, including a Kennedy team and one from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission . They’re all experienced snake handlers, according to the FWC.

Other officers are stationed at an elementary school about a mile away.

Some neighbors were worried, others were not concerned for their safety.

“It’s scary, it will attack,” Jon Roberts told CNN affiliate WESH.

But Brett Schulman told the station, “There’s a tremendous amount of snakes out here in this wooded area, and one snake is not going to make a big difference.”

King cobras like to eat other snakes, so the FWC is bringing in some dead red-tailed green rat snakes.

“This frozen bait will be thawed, which will give off a strong scent,” the agency said in an email to WESH. “We will then create several scent trails in a spoke-type pattern, with the box trap being the center, and then place some of the bait within the trap.”

Kennedy is licensed to own the deadly snakes and told authorities the other venomous snakes in his home, including a female king cobra, are in their enclosures.

The missing snake is green and white and is probably hunting for other snakes, lizards or small mammals.

It probably won’t be easy to find the snake. The area is very densely wooded. “All it wants to do is stay hidden,” Kennedy said. However, he believes it’s within 100 yards of the building because it is not acclimated to captivity and afraid of human interaction.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises that if you come across the snake, do not try to catch it.

According to National Geographic, king cobras are shy when it comes to humans, but if cornered, they get riled up. A bite from one can kill an elephant.

Nevertheless, Kennedy pointed out that it’s unlikely anyone will be bitten.

“Getting struck by lightning is much more likely than being hurt by this animal,” he said.