The very rare and endangered North American Bare-Faced Feathered Cobra, Pseudobitis clementins, rarely stirs in its thicket at the Bronx Zoo. But it’s overnight escape into the wilds of Van Cortland Park has stirred something in this jaded city’s breast. A Facebook page and fueding Twitter accounts (@BareFacedCobra, @RealBareFaceCobra, @CobraAmI) allege to chart the animal’s progress (to freedom? to Westchester Co.?) in snarky wordbites. Even our emotionless Plutocrat-Mayor has gotten into the act, almost soaring above his usual monotone with something akin to oratory: “Every New Yorker, from the lowliest investment banker to those of us with mansions down in the Islands, feels for and understands the importance of this creature.” (How different from the previous guy in the office, hyperactively frothing on his natural media, shock radio: “Animals? Don’t be sick. Only diseased, twisted, perverted minds like animals. Get a life!”)
Thought by some eminent Victorian naturalists to be the missing link between reptiles and birds, the quixotically named Feathered Cobra has regained attention with the discovery that feathers predated flight.