Smelly snake breaks into home in Essen, then let off scot-free | News | DW | 19.09.2017
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Smelly snake breaks into home in Essen, then let off scot-free

As one family in western Germany has learned, you never know what might be hiding in your basement. The reptilian intruder turned out to be a harmless grass snake, though it was upset when removed from its new abode.

A family in the western city of Essen found a nasty surprise lurking in their home on Monday evening: a grass snake almost 50 centimeters (20 inches) long had nestled itself in the basement.

The family immediately contacted the local Essen fire department and firefighters promptly detained and then released the slithery intruder.

"Presumably, the animal got into the basement through an air duct," the fire department said in a statement Monday evening.

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Stinky, 'beastly,' and harmless

After ascertaining that it wasn't dangerous, firefighters apprehended the snake using paper and a waste paper basket. The reptile, perhaps angry at being disturbed at such a late hour, then behaved in a "beastly" manner and excreted an "extremely foul-smelling liquid," according to the report from the chief firefighter.

Luckily, there was nothing further to worry about.

Read also: The don'ts and don'ts of keeping exotic pets

The local zoological institute, TerraZoo Rheinberg, concluded it was a European grass snake after receiving digital photographs from the scene. The non-venomous species is common throughout Europe and has protected status in Germany. The firefighters later freed the snake "unharmed and unpunished."

In 2016, two Australian pythons were discovered within days of each other in a small town in northern Germany. In that case, police suspected that the slippery creatures were let loose on purpose. The pythons were not just stinky, but dangerous: as constrictors over two meters in length, they could pose a serious danger to small children and pets.

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