"We are confident the snake poses no threat to visitors," the Bronx Zoo tells PEOPLE in a statement

By Maria Pasquini
August 09, 2019 03:47 PM

A snake has gone missing at New York’s Bronx Zoo, but visitors shouldn’t feel concerned for their safety.

A “mildly venomous” 3 ½- foot-long mangrove snake was reported as missing from its enclosure in the zoo’s JungleWorld exhibit at “close of business” on Aug. 6, the Bronx Zoo tells PEOPLE in a statement.

“On Wednesday (Aug. 7) we began notifying guests entering JungleWorld,” the Bronx Zoo says. “While we are confident the snake poses no threat to visitors, we placed a sign at the entrance of the exhibit out of an abundance of caution. Mangrove snakes, though mildly venomous, are not known to be dangerous to people. They are shy, timid, secretive in nature and active at night.”

The Bronx Zoo went on to share that they “have every reason to believe” the snake is still inside the exhibit.

According to Gizmodo, the sign at the entrance of the exhibit lets people know that while the snake is missing, “mangrove snakes are a shy, arboreal species that are active at night.”

“There is little chance of seeing or coming into contact with this snake due to its timid, secretive nature. But if you see it, please notify a staff person,” the sign reads.

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The snake is believed to have escaped from its enclosure through the mesh covering a vent, reported ABC Affiliate WABC.

According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, mangrove snake venom “is not lethal to humans but can cause painful swelling and discoloration of the skin.”