Characterized by its tell-tale hood, dark coloration and the ability to grow to a length of six feet, the Egyptian Cobra is not among the best of animals to be misplaced in a zoo. In late March, however, a specimen that was nearly two feet in length went missing inside of the reptile exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in New York.
Employees at the zoo have a responsibility to keep the zoo safe for individuals who are visiting, and having animals loose certainly make the property dangerous. Aside from the obvious frightening nature of this mishap, the situation poses substantial danger to the public in the vicinity. If someone was bitten by the snake, the resulting effects of the venom could cause serious injuries to the body, including failure of the respiratory system.
The Bronx Zoo’s director explained that the snake would most likely hide after leaving the security of its enclosure, and it would begin to venture outward when in need of food. Though the zoo immediately closed the reptile exhibit at first report of the snake’s absence, they could only estimate, and hope, that it was still somewhere inside of the exhibit and that it had not escaped to the outside.
Visiting a zoo should not include being frightened of a poisonous snake on the loose, not to mention the actual danger involved in the situation. The mishandling of such a dangerous animal is an act of negligence by the operators of the zoo, and it put the people of the area at risk.
Source: The New York Times, “What a Sign to See at the Zoo: Cobra Is Missing,” Mosi Secret, 27 March 2011