A Toronto man has been sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay nearly $17,000 in lost rent to landlords after his deadly pet cobra escaped, forcing the evacuation of two homes for more than five months.

In announcing Helder Claro's sentence Wednesday, Justice Leslie Pringle commented that the case is "the stuff of nightmares" and called it a "miracle" the Egyptian cobra never bit anyone, according to the National Post.

Pringle said the snake, which has not been found, may still be alive "lurking in the basement of the home below the frost line."

City officials evacuated both parts of a semi-detached house, that includes a rooming house, after Helder Claro's deadly snake escaped his apartment last September.

Even though the snake has yet to be found,officials recently allowed tenants to return to their homes because they feelit is likely dead. However, all tenants must bewarned thatthe two-metre long snake may still be there.

The judge credited Claro for time served behind bars during the trial, leaving another two months in jail.

The 39-year-old was found guilty of mischief and common nuisance.