‘Houdini’ King Cobra Snake Makes Mysterious Escape From Zoo

By Joshua Jones | Published

Few things are more terrifying than a king cobra going loose inside a public zoo. That is precisely what happened in October as a Swedish Zoo warned gatherers to stay away after a king cobra snake inexplicably slithered to freedom. According to CBS news, the snake, known as Sir Vas (Sir Hiss), somehow escaped through a lamp fixture on Saturday, October 22nd.

The CBS News report noted that Sir Vas had only arrived at the zoo a few days earlier and was anxious to say hi to the other animals.

Funnily enough, the snake has now been renamed Houdini, thanks to its impressive disappearing act. CBS News added that the zoo staff was still searching for the creature two days after it had gone missing, with some theorizing it slithered up towards an inner ceiling. Staff reportedly spread out flour and utilized sticky traps in an attempt to capture the slippery fugitive.

Additionally, special cameras were brought in to inspect sewage pipes. The Director of Shansen Aquarium, Jonas Wahlstrom, stated that despite the terrarium holding king cobra snakes for roughly 15 years, Sir Vas managed to find his way out in three days. It’s quite an impressive feat for a creature that hasn’t even remained at the zoo for more than a week.

king cobra snake
You can tell this King Cobra is not Houdini, aka Sir Vas, because he hasn’t disappeared yet.

After the king cobra snake’s elusive escape, the reptile section of the zoo was subsequently evacuated and remained closed until further notice. When discussing whether Sir Vas could somehow make its way outside the zoo, Wahlstrom pointed out that because of the cold weather, it would “doze off immediately.” He also stressed that king cobra snakes are typically quite calm.

Still, the thought of a king cobra snake slithering around in a public setting is a frightening thought. The reptiles are considered the world’s longest venomous snakes, and their bites could be fatal if not treated immediately.

The question is whether the snake has returned to its home in the zoo. According to USA Today, the king cobra snake did return home on its own accord. After an intensive search, the venomous 7-foot reptile was found in a confined space near the terrarium in the insulation between two walls. Despite holes being drilled into the walls, the snake disappeared from the view of X-ray cameras.   

After the king cobra snake slithered back to its home, Wahlstrom spoke to Swedish public broadcaster SVT about why it decided to end its field trip inside the zoo. Wahlstrom credited the drilling for the snake having retreated to its home. He stated that the drilling became “too stressful” for Sir Vas.

Now that the king cobra snake has returned to the terrarium, families can feel calm while exploring the Swedish zoo. It’s not every day that a venomous 7-foot reptile is roaming a zoo a week before Halloween. You think this type of thing would only happen in the movies, yet the zoo visitors in Stockholm and staff experience quite the thrill in October. Hopefully, Sir Vas feels more comfortable inside its terrarium home.