As visitors walk through the Reptile House at the Bronx Zoo and observe the pythons, coral snakes and rattlesnakes, there is a sign posted intermittently near the deadliest of the serpents that reads: “Please don’t tap on the glass. What would you do if it broke?”
While no glass has been broken, visitors to the zoo since Friday are left wondering what they would do if they encountered one of the highly venomous snakes anyway. A 20-inch-long Egyptian Cobra has gone missing from its enclosure, which prompted zoo officials to shut down the Reptile House until it’s recovered.
But while a sign is posted outside of the house of sssssssssssnakes — The World of Reptiles is closed today. Staff observed an adolescent Egyptian cobra missing from an off-exhibit enclosure on Friday — there is none at the zoo entrance warning patrons of what could be coiled up around any given corner. Will you take your chances — and your family — to the zoo while there’s a deadly snake on the loose?
Zoo officials say they’re confident the cobra is hiding in an isolated area away from the public, that reptiles in general enjoy confined spaces. When the snake gets hungry or thirsty it will make its presence known, officials say.
While cobras aren’t likely to attack people unless they feel threatened and are more likely to feast on toads and birds than anything (or anyone) else, the venom from an Egyptian Cobra can kill an elephant in three hours and a human in 15 minutes. While there are no elephants anymore at the Bronx Zoo, there are plenty of humans.
Egyptian Cobras are native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, so there’s no telling how it will fare in the jungle of the Bronx. Will you go there to find out?
Image: Creative Commons