Bronx Zoo Cobra Found AliveBy ELISSA GOOTMAN and COREY KILGANNON
Updated | 4:51 p.m. She’s been found!
The Egyptian cobra at the Bronx Zoo that had been missing for seven days has been located, officials said on Thursday.
The cobra is “alive and well,” James J. Breheny, the zoo’s director, told dozens of reporters who had gathered for a 4 p.m. news conference at the zoo. The adolescent snake was found inside a non-public area of the zoo’s Reptile House, and was in “really good condition,” he said.
Mr. Breheny said the snake, which is 24 inches long, weighs about 3 ounces, and is believed to be several months old, would rest for a short period of time before being put back on exhibit. She was found coiled in a secluded dark corner — “almost exactly as we would have predicted,” Mr. Breheny said — and was caught at 9 a.m. using tongs and a piece of equipment he compared to a golf club. He said the snake avoided detection because it was lurking in an area with an “extremely complicated” system of equipment and a “labyrinth of pipes.”
Since her escape, the cobra had inspired feverish news coverage and a wildly popular fake Twitter feed.
Mr. Breheny said the zoo had appreciated the media attention but “didn’t want to get distracted by all of the light-heartedness” amid what was ultimately “a serious situation.”
Asked what sort of danger the snake would have posed, Mr. Breheny said that snakes in general are “shy, secretive creatures,” whose venom is “not primarily a defense mechanism. It’s a way to procure food.”
Zoo officials said the Reptile House would remain closed for several days while they investigated how the snake escaped and monitored the escapee. Mr. Breheny said at the news conference that officials had not yet changed any protocol but “have double-checked existing protocol and have people double-checking each other.” Last Friday, when the snake went missing, it was not in the exhibit itself but in an off-exhibit holding cage.
Since then, staff members at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo, had conducted sweeping searches.
News of the Egyptian cobra’s capture reverberated in the Twittersphere, where it quickly became a trending topic, and many said they would miss the frequent updates from @BronxZoosCobra — who has remained silent since the capture.
Despite her newfound fame, the snake has no official name. But that may change. Said Mr. Breheny: “Maybe we’ll do some sort of naming contest.”