The Bronx Zoo: Striving to Fulfill Their Slogan

“Connecting People to Wild Nature.” That’s the slogan on the Bronx Zoo website. They mean it. Right now there is an Egyptian cobra, known as an asp, on the loose. It’s a young reptile, only 20 inches long and about the thickness of a pencil. A snake that small could hide for a long time.

I couldn't find the Egyptian cobra either.

The small size combined with potent venom makes this snake rather terrifying. I realize snakes are normally not a serious menace to humans, but I share Indiana Jones’ feelings regarding our slithery friends.  I’ve been bitten by a snake once, thankfully it was a harmless snake that I didn’t see and got too close to. (I reached down to pick something up, the snake was sitting by the object and thought I was threatening it. The unexpected sight of a snake attached to your hand is not a good time.) That snake didn’t have fangs, just an arc of small rather sharp teeth.

My uneasiness around snakes is accompanied by a fascination with them.

The Egyptian cobra on the loose has a Twitter account (@BronxZoosCobra). She has a good sense of humor. I laughed at her comments about Samuel L. Jackson, Rebecca Black, Donald Trump, Brett Favre, exploring New York, and playful threats.

I love nature. Animals are very cool. But I’d prefer if my connection to snakes with venom in New York had a glass buffer.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Bronx Zoo: Striving to Fulfill Their Slogan

  1. Ben, I also respond to the word ‘snake’ with simultaneous fascination and shivers. I almost stepped on a 2+ meter-long spitting cobra in Tanzania and, as Kate can attest, I freaked out. Although, Kate also almost stepped on a spitting cobra that she mistook for a black PVC irrigation hose. I recall the cell call that I got very vividly:

    Kate: Paul I think I just saw a cobra, what should I do.
    Me: Seriously? Um, where is it?
    Kate: I think it’s in the grass in front of me, next to the path.
    Me: Can you see which way it’s going?
    Kate: No.
    Paul: Um, okay, maybe you should slowly advance along the path, straddling the side opposite the snake?!
    Kate: (panting) Okay, I’m past it, WHEW!

    I prefer snake encounters like the other time that we saw a spitting cobra on the road while driving in our LandCruiser and I could stop and appreciate it from a predetermined distance.

  2. Haha, yes, the conversation went something like that. The funny thing was that the snake was mere feet away from me and my instinct was to call Paul and ask what to do.
    And yes, Paul FREAKED OUT when he saw the cobra. I distinctly remember him running into the house and checking the windows to make sure they were closed. :)

  3. That or Paul is actually the one updating the cobra’s Twitter account…

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