Until last week, residents on the 8100 block of Misty Oaks Boulevard in north Sarasota County have been living among venous reptiles, including deadly cobras and a Gila monster.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission seized the animals from 20-year-old Nick Mitchell earlier this month, and placed them in a local licensed facility, according to an FWC news release. The state agency charged Mitchell with seven counts of unlawful possession of venous reptiles, among other violations related to the care and labeling of the seized species.
Authorities found a black monocled cobra, a rhino viper, a dusky pygmy rattlesnake, a black neck spitting cobra, two banded cobras and a Gila monster in Mitchell’s possession.
Mitchell faces a misdemeanor for each charge, including fines of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
“Removing these reptiles was important to protect public safety and the well-being of the animals,” said FWC supervisor Capt. Leandro Isambert in the release. “There are important captive wildlife rules that need to be followed, particularly where venomous reptiles are concerned. We’re fortunate no one was hurt and we were able to get them to a safe facility where they will be well cared for.”