STOCKHOLM - After a week of evading staff and sophisticated customs equipment in the nooks and crannies of a Stockholm aquarium, a king cobra returned to its enclosure on its own, officials said on Sunday.
“We got him back!” the Skansen Aquarium said in a statement Sunday.
The snake, named Sir Vas (Sir Hiss), slithered off last weekend through a lamp fixture in a terrarium where he had been brought to a few days earlier.
Following the disappearing act, the venomous vagrant was renamed Houdini, in honour of the famed human escape artist.
The aquarium’s reptile section was closed off and staff spread flour and deployed sticky traps to try and capture the scaly fugitive.
When that didn’t work, the aquarium deployed special cameras and got help from Swedish customs agents who used handheld X-ray machines.
The sneaky serpent was finally found to be hiding inside an interior wall.
“The clever Houdini however moved several times when we sawed open several holes to get to him,” the aquarium said.
At one point, the runaway reptile even stuck his head out of a hatch.
“Then he realised that customs agents were in the building and quickly moved to the next hiding spot,” the zoo said, adding that “you can run from customs, but you can’t hide.”
Overnight Saturday/Sunday, the snake apparently decided to give up the life of an outlaw.
“It turned out that he had given up and crawled back to his safe and warm home,” the aquarium said.
While the reptile section was again open to the public, Houdini has been placed under “house arrest” for observation and would not be on view to visitors until Monday, it said.
King cobras, originally from South and Southeast Asia, are the world’s longest venomous snakes.
They mainly prey on other snakes but their bites can be fatal to humans if untreated. AFP