Search for missing cobra disrupts Ocala neighborhood

'Last night I was afraid to sleep,' neighbor says

By Matt Petrillo - Reporter

OCALA, Fla. - Wildlife officials are now two days into the hunt for a 2-foot-long monocled cobra that escaped from its enclosure in an Ocala home and neighbors said they're living in fear.

There's no sign of the snake yet, but there have been a lot of signs of several officers searching for it, as well as neighbors worrying if the potentially deadly cobra is hiding in their home.

"Everybody's kinda concerned about it," one man who lives nearby said.

Some people here are too scared to be in their own homes, fearing about not knowing where the venomous snake might be hiding.

"Last night I was afraid to sleep ... (I) kept listening for it,"  Nina Snyder, who lives nearby, said.

[INTERACTIVE: Find venomous snake permit holders in Florida]

Officials said they're looking everywhere they can think of to find the snake, but so far, have not seen any traces of it. Officials believe it's in the house where it escaped, because it's too cold for it to be outside.

"We're tying to do everything we can to keep the whole area safe," Greg Workman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said.

Officials said there is antivenin in Miami on standby, ready to be flown to Ocala if someone is bitten by the snake. They said it would take about an hour to get to Ocala.

The snake went missing around 11:15 p.m. Monday when an apprentice opened the snakes enclosure and it slithered out. Owner Brian Purdy, who has a permit for the snake, called FWC when he couldn't locate the reptile. 

Anyone who sees the snake should stay at a safe distance and immediately call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 (FWCC) or *FWC or #FWC on cellphones.

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