Selasa, 05 April 2011

Bronx Zoo cobra

Depending upon whom you believe, a nearly two-foot-long cobra which has gone missing at the Bronx Zoo is either hiding somewhere within the Zoo's Reptile House - or living it up in the Big Apple.
On Sunday it was discovered that an adolescent Egyptian cobra has escaped from its enclosure.
The 20-inch-long snake weighs less than 3 ounces. Tiny, right? Its venom, which affects the nervous system, can cause death due to respiratory failure.

Zoo officials said they are confident the snake is still within the Reptile House. Staffers are conducting daily sweeps of the premises.
Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny said the snake has likely sought a secure hiding spot (possibly among the pipes of the building) and, when it feels safe, will move around in search of food.
"They're not really something you want to be bitten by," Mays said. He said the Egyptian cobras he's worked with are "pretty feisty," though they seem to mellow with age.
Bronx Zoo officials declined to speak to LiveScience about the missing snake. In a written statement, zoo director Jim Breheny said the cobra is hunkered down in the building somewhere it feels safe. 

That could take time, Mays said. Snakes can go for months without eating and weeks without drinking. The Houston Zoo hasn't experienced any snake escapes, Mays said, but closing the building is "a wise precaution." The staff's best bet for finding the snake quickly, he said, is to patrol the building with a flashlight at night, when the cobra is more likely to move about.
If zoo staff has a good idea of where in the building the snake is, they could chill the area and set up a small heater nearby, Mays said. The warmth would draw the cobra out of its hiding spot.

"To understand the situation, you have to understand snakes," zoo Director Jim Breheny said in an email Sunday.
The animals seek out confined spaces, so this one has doubtless hidden in a place it feels safe, he said.
Once the snake gets hungry or thirsty enough to leave its hiding place, workers will have their best opportunity to recover it, Breheny said. In the meantime, the Reptile House remained closed indefinitely.
The missing cobra is an adolescent of its hooded species, which is believed to be the type of snake that was called an asp in antiquity. Cobra bites can be deadly if not treated properly, but the snakes aren't likely to attack people unless the reptiles feel threatened, according to a fact sheet on the San Diego Zoo's website.
Opened in 1899, the Bronx Zoo is run by the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society.

Breheny said the zoo was thankful that everyone took spoofy approach to the situation, but the officials made sure to remember that small, poisonous creatures at large is still a very serious situation. “We do not want to be distracted by all that light is heat.” Breheny also noted, however, that the cobra was on the smaller side, and cobras as a whole do not use their venom defensively, but to purchase food.


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