Escaped venomous snake on the loose in German town | News | DW | 28.08.2019
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Escaped venomous snake on the loose in German town

German officials have asked residents to keep windows and doors locked until the cobra is captured. The snake's whereabouts are still unknown.

Authorities in the western German city of Herne have called in experts to catch a monocled cobra that is still on the loose, despite a multi-day effort to capture the reptile.

The 1.4 meter-long (4.6 foot-long) venomous snake was found in the stairwell of an apartment building on Sunday, prompting police to evacuate 30 residents from the building and neighboring houses as well.

Local police said they believe the snake is still in the building where it was found.

Animal experts sprinkled flour around the house in the hopes the snake would leave a trail they could follow and capture it. They even put double-sided sticky tape on the ground in an attempt to track the reptile down.

The city believes the snake escaped from an enclosure in one man's apartment where authorities found 20 other venomous snakes.

The man has since been barred from keeping snakes, although he claims the missing cobra did not come from his collection.

Debate over exotic pet rules

The search for the cobra has made headlines across Germany and sparked calls for stricter regulations on people who keep exotic animals as pets.

"I am personally against keeping very dangerous species in apartments or homes," Ursula Heinen-Esser, the environment minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where Herne is located, told news agency dpa.

She added that she "doubts that keeping such animals in apartments is species-appropriate or humane."

As long as owners adhere to species protection rules, there are very few regulations in Germany about keeping wild animals in private households.

In 2014, state lawmakers in North Rhine-Westphalia tried to push through a law that would have banned people from keeping highly dangerous animals like venomous snakes, crocodiles, scorpions or big cats in their homes. The law received pushback from municipal authorities and never came into effect.

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rs, kw/ng (AP, dpa)

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