King Cobra dubbed "Sleeping Beauty" after successful operation

Reptile curator Mark O'Shea with King Cobra "Sleeping Beauty" Credit: West Midlands Safari Park

A King Cobra has been called "Sleeping Beauty" after undergoing a three-hour operation after a zoo flew specialist vets to the UK.

The 3-metre long snake at West Midlands Safari Park is nicknamed Sleeping Beauty after taking four days to wake from a previous operation.

The zoo searched as far afield as Australia for the most qualified vet and finally found Dr Nelo Civera Vico from Hospital Veterinario Valencia Sur in Spain who specialises in reptilian medicine.

After an initial visit in May to carry out tests on Sleeping Beauty he returned to the UK on Friday 8th June to successfully remove a malignant tumour from her back.

“The king cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world. “They are found throughout South-East Asia and into India and they are highly venomous. “Sleeping Beauty earned the name after she took four days and nights to recover from an anaesthetic following an operation in 2009. She was eventually awakened, not by a kiss but by having her tail tweaked!"

Sleeping Beauty is now recovering successfully at the zoo and once more receiving visitors.

Keepers at the zoo say they are expecting many ‘Get Well Soon’ cards from the public, all of which will be displayed with Sleeping Beauty.