News Releases

FWC addresses 2 venomous reptile issues

News Release

Monday, July 28, 2014

Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-227-3830

Seven venomous reptiles are now in a safe facility after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) removed them from an unlicensed man last week.

FWC investigators charged Nick Mitchell (DOB 03/03/94) of 8125 Misty Oaks Blvd, Sarasota, with unlawful possession of seven venomous reptiles and several other violations related to the care, keeping and labeling of his animals. Each violation is a misdemeanor charge and punishable by up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.

The animals, including a gila monster, black monocled cobra, rhino viper, dusky pygmy rattlesnake, black neck spitting cobra and two banded cobras, were seized and placed at a local licensed facility.

“Removing these reptiles was important to protect public safety and the well-being of the animals,” said Capt. Leandro Isambert, a supervisor in the FWC’s Southwest Regional office. “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.”

In a separate event, a Fort Myers man was taken to the hospital Saturday after he was bitten by a coral snake that he was keeping as a pet. He did not have any licenses to possess this snake, and the FWC is investigating.

“This is another example of the importance of these captive wildlife rules,” Isambert said. “Licensed individuals are trained to keep themselves and the animals safe.”

For more information on how to properly possess captive wildlife in Florida, visit and select “Captive Wildlife.” To report known or suspected violations, call 888-404-3922 or text

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