April 7, 2011— -- New York's most famous cobra finally has a name: Mia. After asking for the public's help in naming the slippery Egyptian cobra that escaped from its home nearly two weeks ago (and was later recovered), the Bronx Zoo announced the name today.
The name, inspired by the phrase "missing in action," was revealed on the website of the New York Daily News. The Daily News partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo, for the naming contest. About 60,000 people voted online for their favorite of five names, the zoo said.
The other options were Agnes (a reference to St. Agnes and Greek for "pure" or "holy"), Amaunet (the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess, meaning the "female hidden one"), Cleopatra (the last pharoah of Ancient Egypt who supposedly committed suicide by inducing an Egyptian cobra to bite her) and Subira (Egyptian for "patient").
Mia captured 27 percent of the vote, while its closest runners-up, Subira and Amaunet, received 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The five final names were chosen from about 34,000 submissions, the zoo said.
Fans of the newly named snake can see her for the first time Saturday, when the zoo reopens the Reptile House.
The deadly, 20-inch snake first caught the public's attention when it vanished from its home in the Bronx Zoo's Reptile House at the end of March.
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"After learning the snake was missing yesterday afternoon, we immediately closed and secured the building as we took steps throughout the evening to recover the snake. Based on our knowledge of the natural history and behavior of snakes, we know they seek closed-in spaces and are not comfortable in open areas," the zoo said in a March 26 statement.
Zoo officials found the reptile curled up in the corner of the Reptile House less than a week later but not before the cobra inspired an anonymous Twitter account detailing the snake's imaginary adventures as it toured Manhattan.
"If you want to find me, I right in front of the original Ray's Pizza," said one tweet.
"Leaving Wall Street. These guys make my skin crawl. #snakeonthetown," said another.
Bronx Zoo Asks Fans to Vote for Cobra's Name
Building on the popularity of its michievous snake, the Bronx Zoo announced the naming contest on April 1.
"Now that our cobra is back, she needs a name. Who better than her fans to give one to her," the zoo said on its official Twitter page.
The snake has also attracted the attention of Facebook fans, who have launched a Facebook campaign to get the cobra to host Saturday Night Live. The "Bronx Zoo's Cobra to Host SNL" page has nearly 2,800 likes.