NEW YORK — A poisonous and potentially deadly cobra has disappeared from its enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, prompting the zoo to close off its reptile house.

“After learning the snake was missing yesterday afternoon, we immediately closed and secured the building as we took steps throughout the evening to recover the snake,” said Mary Dixon, a zoo spokeswoman.

The snake is a 20-inch-long adolescent Egyptian cobra that was being kept away from public display. It is highly venomous.

Zoo officials believe the snake is still inside the reptile house.

“Based on our knowledge of the natural history and behavior of snakes, we know they seek closed-in spaces and are not comfortable in open areas,” Dixon said. “We are confident that the snake, about 20 inches long, is contained in a non-public, isolation area within the building.”

The snake has been missing since Friday. The reptile house was closed for the weekend and remained off-limits Monday.

Zoo officials believe the snake will come out on its own when it gets hungry and that it will be recaptured.

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John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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