You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Pet cobras: What it takes to own a venomous reptile in Florida

The owner of a venomous cobra that escaped Monday night from an enclosure in Ocala, Florida, has all the proper licensing required to own dangerous reptiles.

Brian Purdy is one of the more than 280 people in Florida who are licensed to own the dangerous animals.

A cobra's bite, if not treated, can kill a victim within an hour.

>> Read more trending stories

A snake handler at Reptile World in St. Cloud told WFTV that she has worked with hundreds of cobras at a time for 20 years, and she's never been bitten.

She said the snakes are typically shy, tend to hide from people and only strike if threatened.

We're at Reptile World in St. Cloud getting a look at 1 of 100 Cobras on site. Crews still searching for a missing Cobra in Ocala. @WFTV

— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) March 14, 2017

Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said that the process a person must go through in order to own a venomous reptile is rigorous.

Owners must complete at least 1,000 hours of experience with venomous reptiles and provide two reference letters from license holders.

>> Related: 'Extremely venomous' cobra escapes from Florida home, police say

They also have to develop a bite plan and a disaster plan in case the reptile escapes.

Officials with FWC said Purdy owns a license for the missing cobra. He also has licenses for a gaboon viper and an African bush viper.

Here's a look at the 24" Cobra that escaped its enclosure last night around 9pm in Ocala. @WFTV

— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) March 14, 2017

Records show that he has a clean inspection history by the state, which requires two levels of captivity.

The snakes must be kept in some kind of enclosure, and that cage or crate must then be contained inside an escape-proof room or outbuilding.

Purdy's last inspection was in December. 

A king cobra escaped from Mike Kennedy's Orlando home in September 2015, and was captured about a month later when a woman found the snake underneath her dryer.

Kennedy's trial is set to start Wednesday. He's facing three misdemeanor charges for the cobra's escape.

Since then, the state added enclosure requirements, more regulations on handling venomous reptiles and restrictions for facilities that refuse inspections.

Officials with FWC do annual inspections for reptile owners.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation & World

Morning or evening, board decides when to hold meetings

Question: In the past, our HOA would hold open “workshop” meetings to discuss issues within the community. These are held in the afternoons, usually once a month. The board would encourage homeowners to attend these meetings and voice their opinions, but the board would not vote on open matters. Instead, the board would also hold evening...
Missing Washington, D.C., teens: What to know
Missing Washington, D.C., teens: What to know

On March 24, a surge of photos posted by everyday people and celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson and LL Cool J on social media show images with text claiming that 14 girls have disappeared in the last 24 hours in Washington, D.C., and the images have continued to pick up steam.   WRC reported however, that the information in those...
Mother with cancer dies a day after delivering twins
Mother with cancer dies a day after delivering twins

A Fresno, California, mother died a day after welcoming newborn twins. KGO-TV reported that Jamie Snider, 30, had been diagnosed with cervical cancer for the second time. She discovered the cancer returned when she learned she was pregnant. Throughout her pregnancy, Snider underwent intensive treatment that included chemotherapy. “They couldn't...
Feeding Florida seeks $5 million from state to distribute produce
Feeding Florida seeks $5 million from state to distribute produce

Florida produces an abundance of produce, from sweet corn to bell peppers and watermelons, yet an estimated one-fifth of it is wasted. “About 20 percent of the crops never make it into the supply chain,” said Robin Safley, executive director of Feeding Florida, the non-profit’s network of 14 food distribution banks. That 20 percent...
Amy Schumer drops out of live-action ‘Barbie’ movie
Amy Schumer drops out of live-action ‘Barbie’ movie

According to a new report from Variety magazine, actress and comedian Amy Schumer will not appear in the live-action “Barbie” film, as previously planned.  >> Read more trending news News that Schumer would star in the production was announced in December.  This week, Schumer announced that she would no longer be able to...
More Stories