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 pic.twitter.com/WtbwSL5lfD

— 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 pic.twitter.com/svCOxH3ZRV

— 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

Gift cards expire as Toys R Us store liquidation sales continue
Gift cards expire as Toys R Us store liquidation sales continue

If you haven’t redeemed your Toys R Us gift cards, get to your nearest store ASAP. The April 21 expiration date also applies to the company’s Endless Earnings eGift Cards for customers who earned rewards from baby registry purchases. Liquidations sales began at Toys R Us stores nationwide as early as March 23. At that time, customers who...
Woman robbed while in line for offering in church
Woman robbed while in line for offering in church

A Memphis woman said that while she was in line to put in her offering in at a South Memphis church, someone stole her wallet out of her purse. Police are investigating the incident. Shirley Williams said the church was the last place she thought anything would be stolen from her. "Because we were in church, I just can't believe anyone...
Boy's wallet lost behind lockers at pool found 46 years later
Boy's wallet lost behind lockers at pool found 46 years later

A wallet lost in 1972 has been found by a work crew in Wenatchee who is updating part of the Wentachee, Washington, pool facility. Wenatchee World says the wallet, owned by Harry LaRue, contains some family pictures, and a Boy Scout Card. The World says it estimates that LaRue was about 10 when he lost the wallet and that he lived in East Wenatchee...
Who was Avicii, the electronic dance musician?
Who was Avicii, the electronic dance musician?

Avicii, one of the biggest names in dance music was found dead Friday in Oman, a Middle Eastern country. >> Read more trending news  “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” a statement from his publicist said. “He was found dead in Muscat, Oman this Friday afternoon...
E. coli outbreak: CDC warns to ‘avoid all types of romaine lettuce’
E. coli outbreak: CDC warns to ‘avoid all types of romaine lettuce’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to include all types of romaine lettuce. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine. The CDC also asks consumers to “not buy or eat romaine lettuce at...
More Stories