NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Bronx Zoo closed its reptile house exhibit over the weekend after workers discovered a highly poisonous Egyptian cobra was missing from its enclosure.

The snake's disappearance prompted zoo officials to immediately shut down the reptile house late Friday until further notice "out of an abundance of caution," a statement said.

"We are confident that the snake," an adolescent, 20-inch-long cobra, "is contained in a non-public, isolation area within the building," it said, adding that snakes are known to prefer enclosed spaces to open areas.

A zoo spokeswoman said the snake remained missing as of Sunday.

Visitors to the zoo and its website were informed that the World of Reptiles exhibit was closed.

The Egyptian cobra is a venomous snake found in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It can grow to 6 to 8 feet in length.

(Reporting and writing by Chris Michaud; Editing by Steve Gorman)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

Creative Commons image via flickr user cotinis.