The snake that slithered its way into the country’s imagination is safe and sound in its new, hopefully better-sealed home, along with a brand new name.
The Egyptian Cobra that escaped from its enclosure and spent seven days hiding inside the Bronx Zoo’s Reptile House before being found on Thursday, March 31 is now named Mia.
The name Mia was created from the acronym ‘missing in action,’ which the snake was for a week. Thirty-four thousand people nominated names for the snake and 222 of them suggested Mia.
Once the nominations were in, possible names were trimmed down at a list of five: Subira, Amaunet, Cleopatra, Agnes and the winning name.
Subira is an East African name for rewarded patience, which follows the strategy Zoo officials said they employed in capturing the escaped snake.
Two nominations honored the cobra’s Egyptian heritage. Amaunet is the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess known as “the hidden one.” She was usually depicted as a serpent or a woman with a serpent’s head.
The name Cleopatra is associated with ancient Egypt since she is considered to be the last pharaoh. She also had a famous run in with snakes. Legend, and Shakespeare, say that she committed suicide via an asp bite. Scholars suggest that the asp was actually an Egyptian Cobra, but there is some doubt as to whether or not it was a suicide.
The wild card in the field was Agnes, which seems to have little connection to Egypt, snakes or going missing. It is a reference to St. Agnes and means “pure” or “holy” in Greek.
The total vote in the final round was 59,535. Mia won with 15,972 votes (27 percent). The rest of the leader board at the end of voting was Subira, 14,016 votes (24 percent); Amaunet, 11,672 votes (20 percent); Cleopatra, 10,730 votes (18 percent); Agnes, 6,777 votes (11 percent).
The Zoo’s Reptile House reopened to the public on Saturday, April 9, with Mia front and center.
Yet somehow on that day, @BronxZoosCobra, was still tweeting to its adoring public.
“The Reptile House reopens today,” it tweeted. “Come and visit me. Today is ‘Glass Cutter Day’ at the zoo. Bring a glass cutter and get in 1/2 price!”