Wednesday, March 30, 2011

. . . come out, wherever you are!

Snake on the loose! Well, make that "baby snake," and not so much on the loose as playing hide and seek right now; not answering to "Come!"

The Bronx Zoo is short one young Egyptian cobra that went missing last Friday. It's around 20 inches long now -- a far cry from the 5-8 foot length cobras can reach. Till the snake is found, the zoo’s reptile house is closed.

Dark-colored with a narrow hood and fangs in front of its mouth, the cobra must bite and hang on – rather than hit and run (or hit and slither) -- its venom is extra deadly to compensate for this inefficiency.

One theory has it that the pipes, conduits and ducts behind the reptile house have become a playground for the snake. He or she (reports vary on the snake’s sex) should be easier to catch once hunger sets in.

Although it’s true that snake charmers and cobras go together, the idea that Cleopatra used a cobra as her suicide tool is debunked in Stacy Schiff’s best selling biography of the queen.

A NYTimes editorial about the A.W.O.L. reptile invited readers interested in seeing a 3-D CT scan of a revolving cobra (both skeletal and with skin) to go to the following link:

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