• The unidentified owner had license to keep snakes and had 12 snakes in his apartment
  • The officers laid down saw dust and food traps to capture the snake
  • The snake was 6-month-old and 8-inch-long
  • The snake was captured from a hallway near a food trap and was returned to the owner

An apartment building in Germany was evacuated after a venomous coral snake escaped its terrarium home.

The 6-month-old pet was noticed missing from the terrarium on Sunday by its owner in Cologne. The unidentified owner alerted authorities on Monday morning after an unsuccessful search to find the skinny escape artist. The officers immediately evacuated 10 apartments in the building, local news publication The Express reported.

“They were all tossed out of bed at 6 a.m.,” neighbor Paul-Günter Spiess said. “Their nerves are shot.”

The owner had a license to keep snakes at home and had a total of 12 in his apartment. After the incident was reported, the officers sealed off his apartment and laid down sawdust and food traps in their attempt to capture the snake.

“Since it is a young animal, the amounts of poison in the context of a bite are, according to experts, not comparable with those of an adult animal,” Robert Baumanns from the press office said, as translated from the German. However, the missing coral snake could have delivered a “mild to moderate neurological reaction” if it had bitten someone. Cologne city authorities advised “extreme caution” during the search, DW reported.

The rescue officials also conducted a search in the basement and the area outside of the apartment. They feared that the skinny escape artist would likely fall into torpor -- a hibernation like state -- if it wound up outdoors in the freezing cold.

The 8-inch-long snake was eventually captured by a team of 20 fire- and animal-rescue officers on Monday evening in a hallway near a food trap. The youngster was returned to its owner and residents were allowed to go back into their apartments after an all-clear was signaled by the officials.

Representational image pixabay

Coral snake is extremely reclusive and has to literally chew on the victim to inject their venom fully, according to National Geographic. They generally bite humans only when handled or stepped on. Coral snakes feed on lizards, frogs and smaller snakes including other coral snakes. Average lifespan of coral snakes in captivity is up to seven years.