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Missing Malmö snake an ‘expensive hoax’: report

The deadly snake reportedly on the loose in a Malmö apartment block, prompting panic among residents and leaving a six figure bill for the ensuing hunt, was probably a hoax.

Missing Malmö snake an 'expensive hoax': report

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.

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.

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OFFBEAT

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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