Monday, Jun. 24, 2013

Egyptian Cobra, the Bronx, New York

It's one thing to see a television news report showing clips of animal control officials trying to capture an escaped zebra or monkey — those are storybook animals. But it's an entirely different thing when a zoo loses a snake. Some of the biggest and bravest people are terrified of the scaly reptiles. So when the Bronx Zoo shuttered its World of Reptiles exhibit on March 26 with postings that read "staff observed an adolescent Egyptian cobra missing," panic spread across New York City for fear that the highly venomous snake would turn up where it didn't belong.

Zoo director Jim Breheny tried to allay fears by explaining that the snake was more than likely somewhere in the reptile house and that because of the animal's size — it's less than 2 ft. long and pencil thin — finding the serpent was proving more difficult than they had imagined. In a statement posted on the zoo's website, Breheny wrote, "Right now, it's the snake's game. At this point, it's just like fishing; you put the hook in the water and wait." It's the snake's game alright — or the fake snake's game. Some clever opportunist created a fake Twitter feed called @bronxzooscobra to poke fun at the situation. The tweets are amusing, but let's hope the snake didn't slither over to the zoo's nearby Mouse House.