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Animals Gone Wild

Beware the:

 

A flatulent turtle set off an aquarium’s fire alarm after being fed a Christmas treat of Brussels sprouts.

 

It broke wind and the bubble it created was so strong, it set off an emergency sensor inside its tank at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, Dorset, yesterday.

 

It indicated the water was at a dangerously high level, so marine biologist Sarah Leaney rushed to the aquarium.

 

Last night, she said: “When I got there, all seemed fine. I looked at the tube containing the sensor and saw a turtle beneath it.

 

“As I watched, a few large bubbles emerged from beneath him and rose to the surface next to the tube. Straight away, I realised what must have happened.

 

“We like to give all our animals a treat at Christmas and sprouts are a really healthy choice for sea turtles.

 

“But they do produce similar side-effects to those experienced by humans who eat too many sprouts.”

A New Zealand woman is in critical condition in hospital after being crushed by a dolphin that leaped on to her boat, media reported on Wednesday.

 

The 27-year-old woman had been watching from the bow of the small boat cruising among the marine mammals off the North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula on Tuesday when the bottlenose dolphin landed on her, the New Zealand Herald said.

 

She suffered serious head injuries and was flown to hospital in Auckland.

 

The dolphin also smashed the boat’s windshield and bow rails before jumping back into the ocean, witnesses told the Herald.

 

Coast guard official Steve Taylor said the dolphin probably got over-excited and jumped on to the boat, although he had never heard of such an incident before.

A common parasite can increase a women’s attractiveness to the opposite sex but also make men more stupid, an Australian researcher says.

 

About 40 per cent of the world’s population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii, including about eight million Australians.

 

Human infection generally occurs when people eat raw or undercooked meat that has cysts containing the parasite, or accidentally ingest some of the parasite’s eggs excreted by an infected cat.

 

The parasite is known to be dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause disability or abortion of the unborn child, and can also kill people whose immune systems are weakened.

 

Until recently it was thought to be an insignificant disease in healthy people, Sydney University of Technology infectious disease researcher Nicky Boulter said, but new research has revealed its mind-altering properties.

 

“Interestingly, the effect of infection is different between men and women,” Dr Boulter writes in the latest issue of Australasian Science magazine.

 

“Infected men have lower IQs, achieve a lower level of education and have shorter attention spans. They are also more likely to break rules and take risks, be more independent, more anti-social, suspicious, jealous and morose, and are deemed less attractive to women.

 

“On the other hand, infected women tend to be more outgoing, friendly, more promiscuous, and are considered more attractive to men compared with non-infected controls.

 

“In short, it can make men behave like alley cats and women behave like sex kittens”.

Environmentalists have asked Australia’s military to wage war on cane toads, which have spread across the country’s north in near-plague proportions.

 

The toads, introduced in a batch of 101 from Hawaii in 1935 in a failed bid to control native cane beetles, have spread 3,000 km (1,900 miles) from northeast Queensland to Darwin in Australia’s tropical north. There are now more than 200 million.

 

“We need as many people on the ground as we can possibly get, and if the military can work out strategies for controlling toads on their ground, well that’s fine with us,” Frog Watch spokesman Ian Morris told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Wednesday.

 

Cane toads are one of Australia’s worst environmental mistakes, ranking alongside the catastrophic introduction of rabbits.

 

The spread of the toads, whose skin is poisonous, has led to dramatic declines in populations of native snakes, goanna lizards and quolls. A quoll is a cat-sized marsupial.

 

Killing the hardy toads with anything from golf clubs to air rifles has become a northern Australian pastime, and their carcasses are turned into comic tourist ornaments and fertiliser.

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Since their introduction cane toads have evolved bigger legs to help them move faster, expanding their territory westward by around 40 km (25 miles) a year.

Update: Of course, some animals can actually be of help…like headbanging snakes.

China has come up with an earthquake prediction system which relies on the behaviour of snakes, state media said on Thursday, two days after two quakes struck off neighbouring Taiwan.

 

The earthquake bureau in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi autonomous region in southern China, had developed its system using a combination of natural instinct and modern technology, the China Daily newspaper said.

 

Experts at the bureau monitor snakes at local snake farms via video cameras linked to a broadband Internet connection. The video feed runs 24 hours per day.

 

“Of all the creatures on Earth, snakes are perhaps the most sensitive to earthquakes,” bureau director Jiang Weisong was quoted as saying.

 

Jiang said snakes, a popular restaurant dish in the south in the winter, could sense an earthquake from 120 km (70 miles) away, three to five days before it happens. They respond by behaving strangely.

 

“When an earthquake is about to occur, snakes will move out of their nests, even in the cold of winter,” Jiang was quoted as saying.

 

“If the earthquake is a big one, the snakes will even smash into walls while trying to escape.”

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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