The great s nake escape
“Mass breakout” is a pretty alarming phrase. “Mass venomous snake breakout” is still pretty bad, but would you feel any better if you knew they were baby snakes? In August, around 200 monocled cobras busted out of a snake breeding facility in Nanjing. Over the following month, about 150 were rounded up, which leaves 50 still unaccounted for. The snakes are used in a variety of traditional medicine treatments (it is common to see entire snakes preserved in jars of alcohol), but they aren’t exactly Nanjing natives. While the venom of adult monocled cobras is potentially fatal if left untreated, the babies are far less dangerous. Though, presumably, if the snakes remain on the lam for long enough this will become a greater concern—if they haven’t already been pickled. - D.D.