Stowaway cobra: Cargo ship rescue goes viral

December 22, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A stowaway cobra on a ship – sounds like the title of Samuel L. Jackson’s next movie, but it is not. This week, officials at the Bronx Zoo were called to collect a very weak and dehydrated (still deadly) Indian cobra found by workers on a container ship.

Stowaway cobra

A stowaway cobra is making headlines. On December 10, a crew working on MV Maersk Sana, a container ship, was shocked to discover a stowaway 18-inch cobra aboard.

MV Maersk Sana was traveling from Singapore heading to the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal in New Jersey. Workers took a picture of the cobra and sent it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in New Jersey. The agency identified the animal as an Indian cobra and called Bronx Zoo’s reptile supervisor Kevin Torregrosa for help.

On Monday, moments after the ship arrived on American shores, Torregrosa along with another herpetologist armed with venom antidote, tongs, hooks, and a snake bag, showed up to capture the venomous cobra.

The herpetologists did not need much of the material they brought with them because the deadly cobra was weak, dehydrated and could barely move. Torregrosa explained why he brought so much equipment:

“Planning for the worst we brought anti-venom with us so that if there was a bite, we could take that to a hospital with us.”

Mr. Torregrosa told local media it was more stressful to climb down the equivalent of eight stories than capturing the stowaway cobra. The expert said:

“It’s a really narrow ladder with very little lighting, so that was more unnerving than anything.”

The herpetologists went on to say they have no idea how the cobra got on the container ship. However, according to Thomas Duchak, who teaches a class on reptiles at the New Jersey School of Conservation, the cobra, which loves metal could have been sunning itself in the container and got stuck.

Duchak went on to remind people that cobras are some of the deadliest snakes on this planet. He said:

“People can die in less than 30 minutes from a cobra bite and almost instantaneously if you have some kind of allergic reaction.”

Torregrosa explained that the cobra has been given the name Sana after the ship it was discovered on and is being cared for at the zoo. He does not know Sana’s gender, age, or if the zoo will keep it. The zoo already has a cobra of the same species from Sri Lanka.


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