Sweden: the escape of the king cobra “Houdini” worries a zoo in Stockholm

The king cobra was renamed “Houdini” by the zoo in tribute to the famous magician, as its ability to disappear amazed the staff of the Skansen zoo in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The king cobra took to their heels over the weekend, leading to the partial closure of the establishment. He was still wanted on Monday.

A video taken by a visitor who witnessed the escape shows the reptile, now renamed “Houdini” by the zoo in homage to the famous magician, the head already engaged between the fixing of a lamp and the bulb, hoisting itself from one of the branches of his terrarium. The reptile section was then evacuated and will remain closed until the escapee is captured.

It should be somewhere in the ceiling

According to the zoo, the snake, a cold-blooded but heat-loving animal, should now be somewhere in the ceiling. “He won’t come out, in theory, it’s so cold outside that he would fall asleep,” Skansen aquarium director Jonas Wahlström told AFP.

In order to find his trace, the employees of the establishment spread flour and set up sticky traps. They have also equipped themselves with special cameras so that they can inspect out-of-reach corners.

The zoo’s terrarium has hosted king cobras for nearly 15 years, but it only took a few days for the new tenant to find a way out, added the director. “It must be a little clever,” he said amused.

A potentially deadly bite

According to him, “Houdini” had an advantage over the former tenants: the staff recently replaced the lamps above the terrarium with energy-saving bulbs. “The old lamps were too hot, which kept the snakes away,” says Jonas Wahlström.

“Now it’s not hot at all and the new king cobra has noticed it. He put his head between the light bulb and the lamp attachment and managed to pull himself up to the exit”. According to him, king cobras are naturally calm and unlikely to attack.

Native to South and Southeast Asia, the king cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world. Its main prey is other snakes, but its bite can be fatal in humans if left untreated.

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