Bronx Zoo's missing cobra 'speaks out' on Twitter

The Bronx Zoo may still be looking for its missing cobra, but a tongue-in-cheek Twitter user is charting its supposed progress.

Someone using the handle "BronxZoosCobra" has been tweeting to a quickly growing number of followers — more than 40,000 by Tuesday afternoon. In contrast to the user posing as the 20-inch, highly venomous snake, the Bronx Zoo had about 6,000 followers.

"On top of the Empire State Building!" BronxZoosCobra posted. "All the people look like little mice down there. Delicious little mice."

Tweets included one about "Sex and the City": "I'm totally a SSSamantha."

Another entry riffed on the weather and New Yorkers' fears of the slithering escapee: "It's getting pretty cold out. I think it's probably time to crash. Oh look, an apartment window someone left open just a crack. Perfect!"

The Reptile House at the Bronx Zoo, run by the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society, closed Friday after zoo workers searched but did not find the Egyptian cobra. Zoo officials said Monday they were confident the snake was hiding in the Reptile House but conceded that finding it would be difficult.

"The difficulty is that the 20-inch, pencil-thin snake, which is months old and weighs less than 3 ounces, has sought out a secure hiding spot within the Reptile House," the zoo said, describing it as a "complex environment with pumps, motors and other mechanical systems."

The user behind BronxZoosCobra refused to identify him or herself or say who was typing the tweets.

"The iPhone touch screen works just as well with a tail," the person said in an email to The Associated Press signed "Thankssss."

Asked about the Twitter feed's popularity, BronxZoosCobra "knew it would be popular with reptilian twitterers and a mild appeal to amphibians. Surprised the mammal response has been so huge."

Kris Stoever, a writer and editor from Denver, said she found the cobra tweeting very witty.

"It's a missing snake on the lam. It's the stuff of comedy legend," Stoever said in a telephone interview.

It could take weeks before the cobra feels secure enough to come out of hiding, the zoo said.

Though the Twitter feed is clearly meant to be humorous, a real-life encounter with the snake would be no laughing matter.

Jeff Corwin, a wildlife expert for the Animal Planet cable network, said the snake may be small but "has very toxic venom" and "should be respected."

It's unlikely that the cobra, accustomed to a subtropical climate, would survive very long in the Northeast cold if it leaves the Reptile House, Corwin said.

Asked how the snake was faring in the cold, the user behind the Twitter account said: "Hiding in passerbys' scarves has been working for me so far, but I'm thinking about heading to a sauna to warm up for a bit."

New Yorkers, accustomed to urban legends about alligators thriving in the sewers, shouldn't be too worried, Corwin said.

"The truth is, you can sit on your toilet with comfort and relaxation," he said. "There will be no baby cobras coming up for a nibble."

___

Associated Press writer Ulana Ilnytzky and AP news researcher Monika Mathur contributed to this report.

  • 2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America 8 hours ago
    2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America

    For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.

  • Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van 11 hours ago
    Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van

    “Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.” No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.

  • Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV 15 hours ago
    Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV

    Automakers worldwide have gradually (some would say grudgingly) attempted to make their high-profit and highly popular SUVs as efficient and clean-running as their lower weight passenger cars — namely through the grafting of a plug-in hybrid system.

  • Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report
    Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report

    Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company aims to announce its new product by the end of June and ship to customers by the end of September in time for the holidays, the Journal said in a Friday report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Amazon, it said, hopes to differentiate its phone from other models with a screen that displays hologram-like three-dimensional images, which can be viewed without special glasses. Earlier this month the retailer unveiled a new media streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, which it touted as simplifying the experience of watching video online.

  • One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks
    One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks

    South Korea's coastguard said Wednesday one person had been killed as it struggled to rescue 476 people -- mostly high school students -- aboard a ferry that ran aground and sank off the southern coast. "The ferry is almost completely submerged," Lee said, adding that a detachment of South Korean Navy SEALS were taking part in the rescue. Of the 450 passengers on board the ferry bound for the southern resort island of Jeju, 325 were students from a high school in Ansan, south of Seoul. The 6,825-tonne ferry, which had sailed out of the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening, ran into trouble some 20 kilometres (13 miles) off the island of Byungpoong.