the escape of a king cobra nicknamed “Houdini” leads to the partial closure of a zoo

Staff at Skansen Zoo in Stockholm, Sweden, were still looking for a king cobra on Tuesday (October 25th) which took to their heels over the weekend, leading to the partial closure of the establishment. The reptile, nicknamed Sir Väs (“Sire Whistler”), arrived at the zoo only a few days ago, fled on Saturday through one of the light fixtures in its terrarium.

A video prized by a visitor who witnessed the escape shows the reptile, now renamed “Houdini” by the zoo in homage to the famous magician, with its head already engaged between the attachment of a lamp and the light bulb, hoisting itself up from one of the branches of his terrarium.

The reptile section was then evacuated and remained closed until the escapee was captured. “NOTWe will allow visitors free entry to what we call the monkey house, which is a different building from the one the snake is in.”the zoo said on its website.

According to the site, the snake, a cold-blooded but heat-loving animal, should now be somewhere in the ceiling. “He won’t go out, in theory, it’s so cold outside that he would fall asleep”, explained to AFP the director of the aquarium of Skansen, Jonas Wahlström. In order to find his trace, the employees of the establishment used the flour and set up sticky traps. They are also equipped with special cameras so that they can inspect out-of-range recoils.

According to Jonas Wahlström, “Houdini” enjoyed an advantage over previous 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”he explains. “Now it’s not warm at all and the new king cobra has noticed this. He put his head between the 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.

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