Authorities are searching for a 2-foot-long monocled cobra in Ocala after it escaped overnight.

  • 24-inch cobra escaped its enclosure Monday night
  • Snake is in the area of 900 block of NE 9th Street
  • Call FWC's wildlife alert hotline at 888-404-3922

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is searching for the snake in the area of the 900 block of Northeast 9th Street near Ocala Tuscawilla Park.

FWC said Brian Purdy, the venomous reptile permit licensee, contacted the agency at about 11:15 p.m. Monday and said his 24-inch-long cobra had escaped its enclosure at about 9 p.m. An FWC wildlife investigator responded to the licensee's house where the snake was kept.

Authorities from the Ocala Police Department and Marion County Fire Rescue also responded to the area. After an initial search, nearby residents were notified of the escape. 

"It's a deadly snake, and it's not safe to have in a neighborhood like this with a school down the block," said Britney Simpson, who lives next to Purdy's house.

There's also a park in the area and plenty of children in the neighborhood, Simpson said, adding: "It's not a safe situation for anybody."

People in the area are urged to use caution until the snake has been captured. Although reclusive by nature, cobras are highly venomous and will strike out if they feel threatened.

Steve McDaniel, an investigator with FWC, said they don't think the snake is in its room. 

"Possibly in the house," he said. "I don't believe it's outside because of the weather. It's from southeast Asia; it doesn't like the cold. 

The snake has distinctive multicolor markings. The monocled cobra's venom is one of the fastest-acting snake venoms in the world.

If anyone sees the snake, remain at a safe distance and immediately call the FWC's wildlife alert hotline at 888-404-3922.

A similar situation unfolded in 2015 in Orlando when a 10-foot-long king cobra escaped its enclosure at Dragon Ranch, located on the 4800 block of North Apopka Vineland Road, east of Ocoee.

The snake, named Elvis, was loose for about one month before being found underneath a dryer in the garage of a nearby home.

The snake's owner, Michael Kennedy, was cited for failing to immediately report the snake's escape. Kennedy is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.