Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 14:36 UK

German snake comes to sticky end

Dead Cobra on a car bonnet in Muelheim an der Ruhr, western Germany, 8 April 2010
The monocled cobra apparently expired from exhaustion

A venomous snake that escaped in Germany triggering an extensive three-week hunt has been found dead, leaving its young owner facing a huge bill.

In their efforts to locate the snake, authorities stripped the owner's flat bare, ripping out walls and floorboards and evacuating the building.

The 30cm (12in) monocled cobra was eventually caught on double-sided sticky tape laid by the fire brigade.

The 19-year-old owner now reportedly faces 100,000 euros (£88,000) in costs.

The snake escaped on 18 March from its reptile tank, or terrarium.

After sealing the building and laying the sticky-tape trap, firefighters checked the building daily.

One of them spotted the snake on Thursday, lying on a piece of tape having apparently died of exhaustion.

It is believed the snake may have emerged from its hiding place because of the warmer weather.

The owner's flat has been left uninhabitable, though other residents could return to the building, local media reports said.

"Everything has had a happy end," a spokesman for the town of Muelheim in western Germany said. "Not for the snake but for us."

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