Well, I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the deadly Egyptian cobra that has gone missing from the Bronx zoo.
And even though I live 1744.32 miles away from the Bronx Zoo (Google Maps don’t lie, people), I still have the heebie-jeebies.
Don’t know much about the Egyptian cobra? Um, what ELSE do you need to know besides the word ‘cobra’?? Well this was in the article on CNN: ‘The Egyptian cobra is most commonly found in North Africa. Its venom is so deadly, it can kill a full-grown elephant in three hours -- or a person in about 15 minutes, according to wildlife experts. The venom destroys nerve tissue and causes paralysis and death due to respiratory failure.’
I feel paralyzed and short of breath just thinking about it.
I mean, seriously??! And guess what? They didn’t even close the Bronx zoo until they found the thing. They closed the reptile house until further notice, but according to the article, “Zoo officials said they are confident the 20-inch-long snake is contained in a nonpublic, isolated area of the building.”
You would have to be pretty damn ‘confident’ in order to get me anywhere near that zoo until the snake is captured.
I don’t know if it’s completely apparent, but I have an aversion to snakes. But at least this time I have an excuse (other than that I’m just crazy)…
When we were in college, Phil was living with some of his fraternity brothers in a house on West Campus. A couple of the guys had snakes (what was up with that??) that they kept in glass cages/ enclosure things. When it was ‘feeding time’, they would put them on the floor and feed them dead rats, and it was quite the show. We’d all gather around and watch. Well, one of the snakes? It got lost. And when I say ‘lost’, I mean… IT GOT OUT OF ITS ENCLOSURE! So, um hello?? It happens.
Anyway, it went AWOL. The missing snake was named Angus, and we all mourned his apparent passing/ escape.
Several months went by, and shortly before Phil was scheduled to move out, we were heading out to dinner. He’d had to work in the afternoon, so he decided to take a quick shower before we went out. You see where this is going, right?
So he hopped in the shower, and I heard him yell…
…for me to grab a towel for him out of the hall closet.
Mmhmm. NOW you see where this is going…
I opened the closet door, grabbed a towel off of the middle shelf, and sitting at the back of the same shelf, within arm’s reach, was… Angus. (of course. You saw that coming, right? Yeah, I didn’t.)
We all rejoiced at his return. And when I say ‘rejoiced’, I mean to say, I screamed as loudly as I could, slammed the closet door, and ran to stand on a desk chair in the middle of Phil’s room until the snake could be captured. I’m pretty sure I kept screaming. And I’m pretty sure someone else got Phil the towel he needed.
It was bound to happen I guess. If the staff at a professional zoo can’t keep a cobra from escaping, what are the odds that a bunch of drunken frat boys can keep their snakes in their cages? (Oh, let’s not even GO there. ;)
So trust me when I say that there is a good likelihood that I will never again step foot inside of a reptile habitat at any zoo. Mostly because I have always suspected that it could happen, and this absolutely confirms it beyond a shadow of a doubt. A snake can and DID escape. Who knows how often this happens?? All those empty cases that you see when you go to the zoo’s reptile house that are labeled with the little signs… “EXHIBIT CLOSED WHILE WE AWAIT OUR NEW ARRIVAL”…
or “THIS EXHIBIT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION” might as well just say,
"HOLY CRAP… CHECK UNDER YOUR FEET FOR ANY ROGUE REPTILES.”
Or better yet…
"WHATEVER YOU DO… DON’T. LOOK. DOWN."
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