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Weird National Briefs (02/08/2017)

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Amphibious absence

SAN MARCOS, Texas - A reward for the return hundreds of endangered salamanders missing since November from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aquatic center in Central Texas has been increased to $20,000.

Authorities say 253 Texas blind salamanders and 110 San Marcos salamanders disappeared Thanksgiving Day from the center in San Marcos. The center was closed that day and there’s no sign of forced entry.

Most of the missing animals are Texas blind salamanders, pale, 3- to 4-inch amphibians that can regenerate lost limbs. They’re believed to live only in roughly 25 square miles of aquifer beneath San Marcos.

Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, tells the Austin American-Statesman that as the clock keeps ticking, the chances of recovering the animals alive lessens.

TME – Time to figure out who the Liam Neeson of herpetology is.

Toilet snake

ABILENE, Texas - Rattlesnakes often hide in rural Texas homes, but few are discovered peering up from a toilet.

Snake removal expert Nathan Hawkins said Friday that he was called to a home near Abilene last month after a boy lifted the toilet lid and was surprised to find an adult rattlesnake poking out of the water with most of its body extended down into the drain.

Hawkins says the snake found its way into the house’s plumbing through an exposed pipe.

The boy’s mother decapitated the snake and Hawkins removed 23 others that he found nesting in the storm cellar and beneath the home.

Hawkins posted details of the account to his company’s Facebook page and the post has been shared thousands of times.

TME – And we’re officially never going to the bathroom ever again.

Commode conference call

JUNEAU, Alaska - Everyone’s had a bad conference call experience when someone who dialed in puts the call on hold, and loud hold music makes it impossible for the call to continue.

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board had a bit of that and a sound of a different sort during its meeting Thursday.

Someone who had dialed in to the meeting in Juneau flushed a toilet.

About 40 people were on the line, including enforcement officer James Hoelscher from Anchorage.

During his report, muffled noises were heard in the background and then the very distinct sound of a toilet flushing.

Board member Mark Springer stopped the meeting and admonished the unknown flusher as being rude.

Springer asked whoever was walking around with a cellphone in their pocket, and who had flushed the toilet, to mute their phone.

TME – It brings new meaning to the phrase “S—t or get off the pot.”

Swing right?

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - How does a primate find a date when they’re confined to an urban jungle?

Orangutans in a Dutch zoo may get a high-tech helping hand thanks to a research project that is being likened to a Tinder dating app for apes.

The research at the Apenheul primate park, on the outskirts of the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, is investigating the emotional responses of orangutans and bonobos to images of the same species they are shown on a touch screen.

Biologist Thomas Bionda said Wednesday the screen could help determine an ape’s preference between prospective mates as part of a breeding program.

“We want to help our animals and maybe other zoos’ animals to make a choice,” Bionda said in a telephone interview. “Animals have to like each other.”

Bionda hopes that having apes check out images on a computer screen could help determine the compatibility of a prospective pair.

In the meantime, the primate park has another problem - building an orangutan-proof touch screen. The screen in the primates’ sleeping area was recently destroyed by a young female called Samboja.

TME – Monkey business for the digital age.

Faster pastor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A police report says a prominent Florida pastor was forced to run out of a house naked after a woman’s husband came home to find him having sex with his wife.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports police documents show a woman’s husband found her in bed with Pastor O. Jermaine Simmons in the middle of the afternoon on Jan. 17. The woman told police that her husband yelled that he was going to kill Simmons, who fled the apartment naked and hid behind a nearby fence. The husband took the pastor’s clothes, wallet and car keys and later agreed to return the items following negotiations with police.

Video posted online shows Simmons asking for forgiveness from his congregation at Tallahassee’s Jacob Chapel, saying “you cannot defend sin.”

TME – They referred to it as “attending services.”

Cattle capture

RAPID CITY, S.D. - It took a couple of cowboys from a rodeo competition, each armed with a lasso, to catch an escaped bull that was running wild in a South Dakota city.

Authorities say the bull got loose Sunday when the owner was loading him into a trailer at the Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City. The bull bolted along a bike path, through Memorial Park and Rapid Creek, and stopped at the Executive Golf Course.

KOTA-TV reports that police say even though the bull was tired he was still considered dangerous, especially in a residential area. Police summoned some cowboys from the Sutton Ranch Rodeo competition at the civic center and they were able to rope the bull and get him back to the trailer.

TME – This story is bullcrap.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 22:22

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