A king cobra is pictured in its habitat at the Bronx Zoo in New York on 14 September 2022. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty
Stockholm — A Swedish zoo has been partially closed after a king cobra escaped its enclosure over the weekend, with staff still searching for the deadly escapee on Monday. The snake, named Sir Vas (Sir Hiss), escaped through a lamp socket in a terrarium on Saturday and was thought to be hiding in an interior ceiling.
He had only recently been introduced to the zoo. According to the director of the Skansen Aquarium, Jonas Wahlstrom, the snake has been dubbed Houdini after the renowned escapologist.
In an effort to trace the scaly fugitive, staff members have strewn flour and set sticky traps.
In addition, they have brought in sophisticated cameras meant to scan sewage pipes in order to locate inaccessible crevices.
The terrarium has held king cobras for almost 15 years, but the new occupant only took a few days to escape, according to Wahlstrom of AFP.
He laughed, “It turned out to be clever.”
He said that the escaped snake had an edge over its predecessors since a low-energy bulb had recently been installed in the lamp at the top of the enclosure.
“The previous light was so intense that no snake dared approach,” claimed Wahlstrom. “However, now that it’s not hot at all, the new king cobra inserted its head between the lightbulb and the light fixture and managed to escape.”
A visitor was able to capture the escape on camera, with a worried individual asking, “Is it safe to be here?”
A staff worker responded with composure, “No, but we’re working on it.”
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Subsequently, the reptile section was evacuated and shuttered until the runaway cobra is apprehended.
According to Wahlstrom, there was little risk of it escaping outside.
“It can’t escape, but ideally, it’s so cold outdoors that it would fall asleep instantly,” Wahlstrom explained.
Additionally, he emphasized that king cobras are normally very docile and unlikely to attack.
The king cobra, native to South and Southeast Asia, is the longest poisonous snake in the world.
In the absence of treatment, their bites can prove fatal to humans.