Reptile House Closure

Patience: It’s the Snake’s Game

We understand the interest in this story and that everyone wants us to find the missing snake. Right now, it’s the snake’s game. At this point, it’s just like fishing; you put the hook in the water and wait. Our best strategy is patience, allowing her time to come out of hiding. We remain confident that the snake is contained within the Reptile House.

When we discovered the snake was missing on Friday, we immediately secured the building and conducted a search of all accessible areas. Sweeping searches continue on a daily basis. In addition, we implemented a system for tracking any movement by the snake that would help aid in its capture. 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 holding areas of the Reptile House are extremely complex environments with pumps, motors and other mechanical systems. In this complex environment, she will likely remain in hiding and not move until she feels completely secure. As her comfort level rises, she will begin to move around the building to seek food and water.

As this may take days or even weeks, daily updates should not be expected. As the situation changes we will share any information with you. But now, we need to focus our attention and energy on recovery strategies.

Jim Breheny

SVP for WCS and Bronx Zoo Director

Bronx, NY – March 26, 2011 – The Reptile House at the Bronx Zoo was closed yesterday after staff observed that an adolescent Egyptian cobra was missing from an off-exhibit enclosure. 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. We are confident that the snake, about 20 inches long, is contained in a non-public, isolation area within the building. We are informing the public out of an abundance of caution and will continue to take whatever steps necessary to ensure public safety. We are making this information public through the media, and at our ticket windows. The Reptile House will be closed until further notice.

Mary Dixon, (1-347-840-1242,

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adult admission is $16, children (3-12 years old) $12, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $14. Parking is $13 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit or call 718-367-1010.

~/media/Images/wcs org/forms/please donate to help conservation.png
Stay in touch with WCS and receive the latest news.