NAPLES, Fla.- Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officials have seen their fair share of scary encounters with dangerous reptiles recently.
Two venomous snakes escaped in Florida in 2015. A king cobra snake was on the loose for more than a month in Orlando, while a 5-foot Asian monocled cobra roamed the streets in the Buckingham area of Lee County for two days before it was captured in November.
With those incidents in mind, FWC officials are looking to ban ownership of all venomous reptiles.
Current Florida law states that homeowners can keep venomous reptiles in their homes if they meet requirements for a permit, including having a cage or enclosure with locks and allowing for annual inspections of living arrangements.
Reptile experts say the animals need to remain under control and increased regulation may help prevent future escapes.
“I think it is a good idea to at least have some kind of control,” said Orlando Hidalgo, a volunteer with Corkscrew Sanctuary in Naples. “Especially on venomous snakes like cobras and things like that. There are children out there to consider, and pets. I think it’s for the safety of everybody.”
FWC says certain snakes and reptiles have already been banned from homes, including Burmese pythons and green anacondas.
The new ban would include all venomous snakes and reptiles.
Other experts, like Carol Hoover in Tallahassee, suggest the ban could create a higher demand for the reptiles.
“If you ban it, then it makes it even more desirable and people will obtain them ilegally and have them anyhow,” she said.