NBC's Peter Alexander reports that New York City's Bronx Zoo is searching for a potentially deadly cobra that's been missing since Friday. Zoo officials say it could take days or even weeks to track it down.
Alyssa Borek / Bronx Zoo
An Egyptian cobra, similar to the venomous snake who went missing from New York’s Bronx Zoo.
A venomous snake who went missing from New York’s Bronx Zoo may be eluding zookeepers, but thousands of fans have found her on Twitter.
The 20-inch Egyptian cobra hasn’t been seen since Friday afternoon, and is believed to be hiding somewhere in her zoo enclosure. However instead of searching crevices of the Reptile House for the pencil-thin snake, zoo workers might have better luck looking online.
“Holding very still in the snake exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. This is gonna be hilarious!” tweeted a spoof account called @BronxZoosCobra on Monday night. “Anyone know of a good vegan restaurant near Union Square?” she tweeted a couple of hours later.
While @BronxZoosCobra’s 30,000-and-growing fans enjoy her musings, ophidiophobics – those with a fear of snakes – may find the tweets funnier once she’s found.
The Egyptian cobra’s bite can kill quickly if not treated, and is considered by many to be the serpent Cleopatra used to commit suicide, according to a fact sheet on the San Diego Zoo’s website. Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny didn’t believe his zoo’s months-old snake was out to get anyone, though.
“We remain confident that the snake is contained within the Reptile House,” Breheny said in a statement on Monday. “Our best strategy is patience, allowing her time to come out of hiding.”
Finding her could take days or weeks, he said. The Reptile House has been closed indefinitely.
In the meantime, @BronxZoosCobra has tweeted about trips to the Financial District (“Leaving Wall Street. These guys make my skin crawl”), celebrity sightings (“Rockefeller Plaza is amaz… wait... OMG! Tina Fey totally just walked by me!”), and transportation woes (“What does it take to get a cab in this city?! It’s cause I’m not white isn’t it.”).
Cobras seek out confined spaces, and this one likely won’t leave her hiding place until she gets hungry or thirsty enough, Breheny told the Associated Press on Sunday. The reptiles aren’t likely to attack people unless they feel threatened.
The snake’s biggest concern at this point should be the weather, Animal Planet reptile expert Jeff Corwin told The New York Post on Monday. If exposed to the cold, she would likely die within several days.
At least the Twitter account is alive and well. @BronxZoosCobra has been replying to inquiries from her fans, which include everything from invitations to fancy department stores to thoughts on the revolution in the Middle East (“Obviously I’m a big fan of freedom!” was her reply).
Neither @BronxZoosCobra nor the actual Bronx Zoo cobra responded to a request for comment from msnbc.com.
Are you on Tumblr? Get more quirky news by following us at msnbc.tumblr.com.