Swedish zoo closes when king cobra escapes exhibit

A Swedish zoo was closed Monday while officials searched the premises for a highly venomous king cobra that escaped from its enclosure.

The Skansen Zoo in Stockholm said the attraction was evacuated Saturday morning when zookeepers discovered the snake had escaped from its terrarium through a light fixture.

Jonas Wahlstrom, owner of the zoo, said the cobra has been nicknamed Houdini in honor of its escape artistry.

Wahlstrom said the search for the cobra was ongoing Monday morning and officials believe the snake to be hiding somewhere in a back room, far from the public areas of the zoo.

“It’s not in the visitor area, but behind the scenes,” Wahlstrom told Swedish news agency TT. “It’s cooler there and it’s lying there and resting.”

Wahlstrom said the current outside temperature in Stockholm is too cold for the snake to survive for very long outside the building.

Zookeepers said Houdini had only been in the terrarium for about a day, after being moved from another area of the zoo. Keepers had hoped the snake would mate with another cobra in the exhibit.