March 31, 2011 -- The venomous Bronx Zoo Egyptian cobra that alarmed and delighted New Yorkers when it escaped from its enclosure was found today, ending a six day search for the celebrated snake.
The elusive snake was found "coiled, sort of secluded in a dark corner" about 9 a.m. a couple hundred feet away from the enclosure she had slipped out of, said Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny.
It was recovered by a Reptile House employee using "special tongs to grip the animal," Breheny said.
The poisonous cobra disappeared from the zoo last Saturday and immediately became New York's newest and skinniest celebrity. The cobra had built up a huge Twitter following since its disappearance, and hours after the snake's capture the Twitter account vowed to have the lasssst word.
"Oh this isn't over," a tweet from @bronxzooscobra said. "Tomorrow is going to be big. This has only awakened the sleeping Bronx Zoo's Cobra nation. Tune in tomorrow. You'll never see this coming."
"She's alive and well," said Breheny at a press conference at the zoo. "She certainly looks in fine condition."
He said wood shavings used as bedding by mice and rats were used to tempt the cobra out of hiding, because snakes hunt through their noses.
The image of the cobra as scary was not really accurate, the zoo director said. "Snakes in general are shy, secretive creatures," he said who if given a choice between fight and flight would go for flight.
Zoo officials had insisted that the 20-inch-long female reptile -- who weighs about three ounces -- was contained within the Reptile House, which was closed to the public as soon as keepers noticed that the snake had gone on the lam.
And it did turn out that that's exactly where she was, just a couple of hundred feet from the spot where she disappeared.
The teenage cobra built up a huge following on Twitter with nearly 200,000 followers while it was on the lam. Since Monday, the Twitter account @BronxZoosCobra has tweeted the imaginary escapades of the escapee.
The tweets have delighted New Yorkers as they lampooned the city's foibles and its famous. "Donald Trump is thinking about running for president?! Don't worry, I'll handle this. Where is Trump Tower exactly?" said one sample.
The tweeter, who preferred to remain anonymous, told ABC "she" was enjoying the attention.
"I'm happy for the opportunity to show people a softer side of snakes. Snakes are people too. Oh, wait. Nevermind."
When asked to reveal "her" name, @BronxZoosCobra wrote, "Interest in revealing myself? I'm totally naked all the time. I don't think I can get more revealing."
Breheny said he thought the Twitter joke showed that the public believed Zoo officials would find the snake alive and well."If they didn't have that confidence, they wouldn't have been so light-hearted," he said.