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Missing Malmö snake an 'expensive hoax': report

TT/The Local/pvs · 10 May 2011, 11:26

Published: 10 May 2011 11:26 GMT+02:00

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According to a note posted two months ago in the building's entrance, the 1.3 metre long snake, an Inland Taipan, escaped from its owner, receiving intense media interest at the time.

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.

After a two month hunt for the snake that has proved fruitless, the conclusion has now been drawn that the whole episode was a hoax; a hoax that has incurred substantial cost.

According to the building's caretaker, Thomas Marot, all indications point to the fact that there was never a snake on the loose and he told the Aftonbladet daily on Tuesday that more than 100,000 kronor ($15,900) has been spent in the meantime.

The offending note described the predator 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.

Residents in the building in the meantime took no chances and shored up their ventilation ducts and placed heavy books on their toilet seats, among other precautions.

The intensive search for the snake has also included the employment of dedicated snake hunters who have been scouring the vicinity.

Story continues below…

Jonas Wahlström from the Skansen animal park in Stockholm was however one of the first to warn that the tale seemed highly improbable.

"The Inland Taipan is found in only one place in Sweden and that's at the Skansen vivarium. They are incredibly poisonous so they aren't especially popular as pets," he told Aftonbladet in April.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:31 May 10, 2011 by wolverine2k
hmm.. "... placed heavy books on their toilet seats..". Now I know the reason why the whole library was more or less empty.
13:43 May 10, 2011 by HYBRED
This was better than a old fashioned snipe hunt.
13:53 May 10, 2011 by Steggles
Hoax or no hoax......that snake would never had survived without warm conditions.
14:16 May 10, 2011 by karex

Two things wrong here:

1) snakes aren't poisonous, they are technically venomous. The difference being, you cannot drink poison and survive. You can, however drink venom and survive as long as you have no wounds in your mouth, throat and digestive system where the venom can enter the bloodstream. Venom must circulate through the bllodstream, ergo, must be injected, as in - through a bite...

2) one indication that there was something wrong with this story and could possibly be a hoax is the post about the snake being "a teenager and not developed it's full venomous potential...

I'm not a snake specialist but it was once explained to me by someone who is that snakes are born with the same venom as the adults possess with the caveat that the younger the the snake, MORE dangerous they are because due to smaller body mass the venom is even more concentrated than in adults...
16:19 May 10, 2011 by Åskar

The mix-up between poisonous and venomous is because Swedish has one word for both terms and the word venomous is not so familiar to Swedes.
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