Here Snakey Snakey....!

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Last week I engaged my husband in a conversation questioning how animals escape or go missing. I specifically sited the Bronx Zoo as an example - NOT because they have any incidences of escapes but simply because they have a lot of confined animals and a lot of handlers.  For purposes of this conversation my animal of choice was a lion. I was simply trying to make a point...How would a lion escape The Zoo?

The reason I brought this up was simply because I never understand how people loose their pets, period and The Bronx Zoo was an extreme example. So imagine my chagrin, when the news hit that an animal had escaped from The Zoo. It wasn't a lion, a gorilla, or even a stray bird from the grounds. It was a 20-inch baby Egyptian Cobra that liberated herself.  Exotic snakes are not completely foreign to The Bronx, having popped up in Bronx parks and even in apartment building toilets.  At least a lion loose anywhere in the Zoo, or The Bronx for that matter, would likely be seen with little difficulty and captured. There would be little question of its whereabouts. But a deadly cobra that can kill a human within 15 minutes of a bite...oh where or where has this Egyptian Cobra gone? Oh where or where can she be?  Egyptian Cobra's bodies are compressible, so they can fit into tiny spaces.   They live in open fields, and arid countrysides but can often be seen around homes searching for rodents - 2 things there are no shortages of in The Bronx.

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Egyptian Cobras are native to arid climates and will gravitate towards warmth and water.  So this makes me feel a little better about my chances of running into her.  It is pretty cold outside so she might still actually be in the house that reptiles built.  But what if she did make it out?  I am concerned given that I walk my dogs in the park that flanks The Zoo.  The staff is confident that the snake is still within The Reptile House so have closed it down, but I am sure they were also confident that the snake was in its enclosure...until it wasn't.

How do you identify an Egyptian Cobra?  Basically, if you see the hood, you had better believe that you have encountered the Egyptian Cobra.  Short of that, they can typically grow up to 8 feet long - although as a baby, our girl is currently only 20 inches, so she has a little way to go. They will likely be some shade of brown and if you happen to make eye contact with one, you may notice a teardrop shape under the eyes.

If you are in The Bronx and think you may have encountered the Egyptian Cobra, do NOT attempt to catch her.  Simply back away carefully and call NYC Animal Care & Control and then you can follow her safely on Twitter @BronxZoosCobra.

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