I hate snakes more than flying. I am terrified of snakes. And now, when I’m heading to New York in a week, an Egyptian Cobra has escaped his Bronx Zoo cage and is roaming the neighborhood. Or maybe not; it turns out they believe the Cobra hasn’t left the building and will come out when he’s hungry, which could take months. Excuse me?
First, let’s face it, that Cobra is one mad sucker. He’s been cooped up for years in a little cage and fed whatever we thought he would like whenever we thought he would like it. What would you do if you were him? Stay in the building, or get the hell out of Dodge? Look, I’m no rocket scientist, but I know that snake is lying in wait to welcome me to the Big Apple. I believe in associations, and apples and snakes have a history dating back to Adam and Eve. Remember the picture of the snake slitering around the apple? Hello.
Here is the zoo’s statement about said snake’s escape: “Upon leaving its enclosure, the snake would feel vulnerable and seek out a place to hide and feel safe,” zoo director Jim Breheny said in a written statement. “When the snake gets hungry or thirsty, it will start to move around the building. Once that happens, it will be our best opportunity to recover it.”
The snake is feeling ‘vulnerable?’ Really? Our “best opportunity” to catch him? What does that mean? In ten years we couldn’t find Osama Bin Laden, and he was two feet taller than everyone else in the area and traveling with a hospital attached to him. But we think we are going to find a snake in New York City?
Next they said the best way to catch him is to cool down an area of the reptile building at night (dark is good, apparently), set up a heater somewhere in the room, and said Cobra will slither toward the heat. Voila, they have him. Another thing they are doing is walking around at night with a flash light to see if he’s out. Just who is doing that little patrol? Would it be the last person hired in the reptile department? They always get the worst jobs. Get everyone coffee in the morning and stay late with flashlight in hand and see if you can find our missing deadly Cobra.
Finally, they have issued this suggestion for what to do you if you happen upon him: Avoid coming within a snake’s striking range, which tends to be about half the length of the snake’s body length. The escaped cobra measures approximately twenty inches long, so its strike range would be limited to about ten inches. Do not attempt to provoke the snake by poking at it or stepping on it, as doing so will only endanger you even more and likely will result in a snake bite. Do not attempt to provoke the snake? Who are you people?
The fabulous Sarah (daughter extraordinaire in Boston) was on the phone with me this morning. I told her that she had to pay close attention to her feet walking around Cambridge this week.
“Because a cobra has escaped from the Bronx Zoo, and I’m concerned. Just don’t take chances. Watch where you are walking.”
“Just how do you think it got here?”
“I looked on the map and Amtrak runs right by the zoo. Have you not heard of the Acela?”
“Love you mom.” Click.
After hours of research, I thought you should all know that a Cobra (privately owned in a trailer park in California) escaped in 1979 and he was never found. I’m just saying.
Someone set up a twitter account for the Cobra and has been tweeting things about its whereabouts since its escape. “Went to financial district yesterday. Slimy.” Late night comedians have also been chatting about Mr. C since he escaped. I have a really good sense of humor, and I can make people laugh if I want to. I am really good at being irreverent in difficult situations. But this is no laughing matter. I’m running out of places to be safe. I’m heading from California, where I’m sniffing the air for nuclear waste, to New York, where I will have to look under my hotel bed for a missing Cobra. It’s exhausting having to save myself from the negligence of others.
Listen, if I were Mayor Bloomberg, I would tell them they have 24 hours to find said snake, or the building will be ripped down, brick by brick. And, then the rest of the zoo will be dismantled and all the ‘wild’ animals will be returned to the real wild where they belong in the first place. Zoos, like circuses with animals, churn my stomach. I have always wondered about the things that entertain us. Taking a wild bear and putting a tutu on it and having it dance in front of laughing people has always been grotesque to me.
So, in short, find the F***ing snake. Now.