Swedish zoo partially closed after venomous snake makes ‘Houdini’ escape

A zoo in Sweden has been partially closed after a venomous snake escaped from its enclosure over the weekend.

Staff at Stockholm’s Skansen Zoo were still searching on Monday for the elusive King cobra, named “Sir Väs” (“Sir Hiss”).

The animal — now nicknamed “Houdini” after the famous escape artist — had only arrived at the zoo a few days ago.

A video taken by a visitor showed the serpent climbing through a lamp fixture in its terrarium off a tree branch.

Zoo staff believe the snake is now somewhere in the reptile section’s ceiling and have closed the building, using flour, sticky traps, and special cameras to try and catch him.

“He won’t come out, in theory, it’s so cold outside that he would fall asleep,” Skansen Aquarium director Jonas Wahlström told AFP.

Skansen zoo has been home to King cobras for nearly 15 years, but it only took a few days for the new animal to escape on Saturday after the enclosure was fitted with new energy-saving bulbs.

“He must be a smart guy,” Wahlström said. “The old lamps were too hot, which kept the snakes away.”

King cobras, native to South and Southeast Asia, are the world’s longest venomous snake. They mainly prey on other snakes but their bites can be fatal to humans if left untreated.

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