Singapore, 15 October 2010Singapore Zoo, the world’s only rainforest-themed zoo, has a new king cobra which has been absorbed into the park’s collection after being rescued by Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s (WRS) wildlife rescue experts. The 4.3 metre long snake, named Elvis, after the King of Rock and Roll, underwent quarantine and health evaluations by the park’s vets, and is now the star of the Singapore Zoo’s Reptile Garden. King cobras are the world’s largest venomous snakes and males average 4 metres in length.

First spotted in a drain along Thomson Road, WRS’ wildlife rescue experts were contacted by NParks officials, who feared that Elvis’ great size may put him in danger from frightened residents. WRS wildlife rescue experts arrived on the scene shortly and brought Elvis back to the wildlife rescue centre for evaluation and review. Because of the animal’s large size, WRS decided to absorb the animal into its collection amid worries that it may encroach on populated areas in the future, and be injured or killed.

“Wild animals such as king cobras are magnificent but they can also be dangerous,” said Biswajit Guha, Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo. “Even though Singapore is heavily urbanised, we retain a vibrant native biodiversity and it is important that Singaporeans respect wildlife when we come across them outside of their forest homes.”

He added, “Members of the public should not attempt to approach wild animals particularly if they appear to be weak, injured or disorientated. Occasionally wild animals such as the king cobra may enter populated areas and are unable to return to the forest. They will likely be stressed and may react in unpredictable ways. Considering that the venom of a king cobra is extremely potent, people should leave the handling of these beautiful reptiles to experts.”

WRS operates Singapore’s only designated rescued wildlife centres and provides snake handling training upon request to relevant agencies and organisations.

Elvis the recued king cobra now calls Singapore Zoo’s Reptile Garden home. Visitors can see how active he is during the king cobra feeding session every Sunday at 2.15pm

The king cobra can strike up at targets within 2.5 metres, making it extremely easy to misjudge safe distances. Despite its size and reputation for ferocity, it only attacks when startled, provoked or when protecting its eggs.

The 4.3 metre king cobra, christened Elvis, is a spectacular specimen, and perhaps one of the largest to have been found in Singapore.