A 3-foot venomous mangrove snake went missing Tuesday night at the Bronx Zoo in New York, according to zoo officials.
The zoo remains open to the public despite the missing reptile, though zoo officials have put up a small sign alerting visitors to the situation and downplayed any element of danger the escaped animal may impose, The Associated Press reported.
The sign reads, “Dear visitors, a 3 and a half foot long mangrove snake is missing from its exhibit in Jungle World. They are mildly venomous, but not dangerous to people.”
The zoo said there's little chance guests will see the timid black and yellow snake, but if they do spot the reptile they should let staff know. https://t.co/veEn8wDtSb
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) August 8, 2019
“Mangrove snakes are a shy, arboreal species that are active at night. There is little chance of seeing or coming in contact with this snake due to its timid, secretive nature but if you see it, please notify a staff person,” the sign continues.
“I’m scared. It can bite you, it can harm you. I wouldn’t go in there if I knew,” zoo-goer Engelbert Balboa, 33, reportedly said.
“To think I went in there with my son and my mother and my sister,” he continued.
Others said it was irresponsible for the zoo to make the warning sign so inconspicuous.
“It’s irresponsible of them,” said school teacher Lucia Crespo, 29, who was visiting the zoo with her young child, according to the NY Post.
“It’s scary and I have a 3-year-old son. Now I’m feeling terrified. … I don’t like snakes at all,” she explained.
Two zoo employees were reportedly spotted searching the area around the snake’s enclosure with flashlights, but did not say how the reptile escaped.
“They are very smart, you know,” one zoo employee reportedly said.
The Bronx Zoo has been known to lose track of snakes in the past. A deadly Egyptian Cobra escaped its enclosure in 2011, and wasn’t returned for a week, according to the NY Post.
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