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'Missing snake' note rattles Malmö residents

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'Missing snake' note rattles Malmö residents
09:23 CEST+02:00
A report that a deadly snake has escaped has left residents of an apartment building in Malmö in southern Sweden living in fear.

According to a note posted three weeks ago in the building's entryway, the 1.3 metre long snake, an Inland Taipan, escaped from its owner, according to several media reports.

The Inland Taipan, also known as the Small Scaled Snake, is native to Australia and is known as one of the world's most poisonous snakes.

The note described the snake as "a teenager" which hadn't yet fully developed its venomous potential, and urged anyone who may have seen it to contact a veterinarian or emergency services.

For the last three weeks, special snake hunters have been called in to help find the escaped predator, but so far without success.

In the meantime, residents have been living in fear that the missing snake may turn up unexpectedly in their apartments, prompting a number of tenants to close up ventilation ducts and keep their lids of their toilets shut, the Aftonbladet newspaper reports.

"We don't know who owns a snake here in the building. There are neighbours who have suspicions, but it could also be a joke," an official with Malmö's office of environmental affairs told the local Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Jonas Wahlström from the Skansen animal park in Stockholm also suspects the note about the missing Taipan is a "sick joke".

"The Inland Taipan is found in only one place in Sweden and that's at the Skansen vivarium," he told Aftonbladet.

"They are incredibly poisonous so they aren't especially popular as pets."

If, however, an Inland Taipan really is slithering loose in Malmö, the risk of local residents finding themselves in an unexpected encounter with the snake is extremely small, according to Wahlström.

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