Escaped King Cobra Returns to Terrarium in Swedish Zoo

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A 7-foot venomous king cobra is safely back in its terrarium at a Sweden zoo after a weeklong adventure on the outside. 

According to AP, the king cobra escaped from the Skansen Aquarium on October 22nd through a light fixture in the ceiling of its enclosure. The zoo ended up shutting down the aquarium as its staff searched for the snake.“Since Houdini [the king cobra] is of the curious type, he would go up and look there of course, and managed to push himself out that way,” the zoo revealed.

Due to king cobras being considered a tropical animal, the zoo stated that the escapee will not seek the cold outside the zoo. At the time, the officials said that they had a good idea of what space the snake was in. They did not believe it was able to escape the aquarium area. 

As a result of the search with X-ray machines, the snake was located earlier this week. It was in a confined space near the terrarium in the insulation between two walls. “Thanks to methodical work, Sir Vas could, at last, be located inside an interior wall near the terrarium,” the authority reportedly shared. “Happy and content, our colleagues were able to conclude the operation, but on Friday Sir Vas managed to escape again.”

It was further reported that two holes were drilled into the walls where the king cobra was hiding. However, the snake disappeared from the view of the X-ray cameras on Sunday. That was when the snake finally made its way back to its terrarium. 

Houdini the King Cobra Makes His Return to the Terrarium

Jonas Wahlstrom, CEO of Skansen Aquarium, shared more details about the king cobra’s adventure. “Houdini, as we named him, has crawled back into his terrarium. It was too stressful for Houdini with all the holes in the walls, so he wanted to go home again.”

It was further reported that the terrarium had housed king cobras for nearly 15 years. The zoo is home to about 200 exotic species.

According to the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, the king cobra is yellow, green, brown, or black. However, they usually have yellowish or white crossbars or chevrons. Its fangs are almost 0.5 inches long. On average, the snake’s size is 10 to 12 feet. But it can reach 18 feet. 

King cobras mainly live in northern India, east to southern China. This includes Hong Kong and Hainan; south throughout the Malay Peninsula and east to western Indonesia and the Philippines. The snake’s conservation status is currently vulnerable. 

In the United States, research on cobra venom has yielded pain relievers such as Cobroxin, used to block nerve transmission, and Nyloxin, used for severe arthritis pain.