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Ssssearch is over: Missing Bronx Zoo cobra found

The venomous Egyptian cobra that vanished from her quarters at the Bronx Zoo last week was found on Thursday, safe, sound and all coiled up in a dark corner of the zoo’s reptile house.

The adolescent female snake is in good condition after her weeklong foray into cageless freedom.

“We’re really happy to announce that cobra missing for seven days has been found,” Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo, said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “She’s alive and well ... resting comfortably and secure.”Breheny said the key strategy in recovering the snake was patience.

“We did fairly extensive sweeping searches throughout the [reptile house] and in the non-public back area,” he said, explaining that the non-public areas of the zoo’s buildings are a labyrinth of pipes and equipment for filtration system, furnaces and the like. For days now, zoo staff members armed with tongs have been combing the back of the reptile house in an effort to find the reclusive snake.

They finally spotted her in a secluded, dark corner at about 9 a.m. Thursday.

Breheny said zoo staff worked hard to create the right environment to make the snake as comfortable — and as findable — as possible: dim lights, low sounds, and an abundance of wood shavings that carried the scent of mice and rats.

The zoo director described the as-yet-unnamed cobra as a “little snake” who is 20 to 24 inches long and who weighed in today at about 3 ounces. Breheny said she had “no obvious bulges” and appeared to be in good condition when she was discovered. Once zoo officials are certain the snake is fine and ready for visitors, the zoo will reopen the reptile house to the public — possibly by “next weekend,” Breheny said.

Breheny added that the zoo may have a naming contest for the cobra since public interest in her is so high.

A Twitter account that has been imagining the animal’s whereabouts as she celebrates her freedom from the zoo has attracted more than 200,000 followers. A campaign also has mounted on Facebook to get the cobra to host “Saturday Night Live.”Theo Kim, a staff writer at the Dallas Morning News, tweeted this observation: “Why Twitter matters: In just days, @BronxZoosCobra has built a larger social media audience than all Texas newspapers. Combined.”

The sassy snake hinted in a tweet Thursday that she might be spotted at the Yankees Opening Day.

“If you see a bag of peanuts inexplicably moving along the ground at Yankee Stadium today. Just ignore it. It’s probably nothing.”

Msnbc.com news services contributed to this report.

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