Firefighters in Germany said 10 apartments were evacuated in a building in which a venomous snake escaped from its terrarium.

The Cologne Fire Department said the South African coral snake, a small but venomous reptile species, was noticed missing early Monday morning by its owner, who alerted the authorities.

The fire department evacuated 10 apartments in the building while a search was conducted for the wayward reptile.

Firefighters said there was concern that the snake could end up outdoors, where cold temperatures would likely send it into a hibernation-like state.

The department announced about three hours after the search began that the snake had been captured in a food-baited trap and returned to its terrarium. The building's residents were allowed to return to their homes.