Residents leave apartments Venomous snake escaped from terrarium in Cologne

Cologne · A poisonous snake escaped from a terrarium in Cologne-Klettenberg. The residents of the apartment building have left their apartments. The fire department was looking for the animal until late in the evening.

 After a poisonous snake escaped from a terrarium, several residents had to leave their apartments in Cologne-Klettenberg. In the apartment building are ten apartments, the residents are all privately accommodated, according to the city.

 According to the statement, the owner of the South African coral snake had noticed on Sunday evening that the animal was no longer in the terrarium. After an unsuccessful search, he then called the fire department early Monday morning. 

 The fire department assumed that the animal is still hiding in the apartment. A structural connection from the house to a neighboring building does not exist. Firefighters sealed the affected apartment and extensively checked basement and outdoor areas. The firefighters also spread flour to detect crawl marks of the snake. In addition, cameras and endoscopes were being used and food traps and heat sources were set up to attract the hidden animal. Experts had to wear protective clothing. In addition, all apartments in the house were sealed. If the snake would have left the house, it would immediately fall into a "cold paralysis" in the current temperatures and ultimately die from it.

 It was not until around 8:30 p.m. in the evening that the reptile was caught during a check, when it was on its way to one of the set-up feeding traps. The residents of the ten apartments in the apartment building were able to return to their rooms after the all-clear was given.

 In addition to the fire department, the veterinary office and the public order office were also on site. 

 The six-month-old snake is about 20 centimeters long, in case of a bite it releases nerve toxin. There was no danger to residents. It was a young animal with a smaller amount of venom. Nevertheless, we "proceeded with extreme caution," the city says.

 Bites by adult animals can even be fatal. Here, however, a "mild to moderate reaction only to a bite was to be expected," the city said. Nevertheless, severe reactions could not be ruled out. As a precaution, a Cologne hospital has been informed, which was preparing for treatment in coordination with the Munich Poison Control Center for all cases. However, a suitable antidote is not available, it was said.

 Since the beginning of the year, a stricter Poisonous Animals Act has been in force in North Rhine-Westphalia, which prohibits the acquisition of particularly poisonous animals and imposes stricter regulations on existing keepers. Keepers must therefore register very poisonous animals and, among other things, provide proof of a high level of liability insurance. Until now, local authorities have often been left to bear the costs when a poisonous animal escapes and a large-scale operation by the fire department and public order office ensues. In the Cologne case, the owner kept a total of twelve snakes in his apartment. The necessary species protection permits were available. The husbandry of the animals was "exemplary", according to the Cologne veterinary office. According to GA information, the owner has the appropriate insurance.

 Original text: ga

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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