Offbeat: Cross-eyed opossum retires, dog eats diamonds

Published: September 13, 2011

Super croc!

A massive crocodile weighing one tonne (1,075 kg) has been caught in a remote area of the Philippines. The 21-one-feet long creature (6.1 metres), is thought to be one of the biggest ever caught alive. Local officials in this marshy town in southern Philippines seek to register this discovery in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The 6.1-meter creature was ensnared by reptile hunters hired by the government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources. According to wildlife officials, the Bunawan crocodile could surpass the Guinness Record holder for the largest captive croc — the 5.48-meter male named Cassius caught in Australia.

The hunt for crocodiles at the New Era village — a swampy area, with the country’s largest body of freshwater — began after two-year old cattle was reportedly decapitated by two ravenous reptiles. A farmer in the area also went missing and was believed to have been attacked by crocodiles late July. Consequently fearful villagers trooped to the town center and demanded the government to capture the dangerous crocodiles.

The capture of the crocodile is described as “one of a kind” due to its size and attracted hundreds of curious visitors even from other towns, who wished to see for themselves the now famous crocodile.

“It’s really that huge. It’s like the monster crocodiles we see in the movies,” gushed Gloria Navarro, a mother of six from nearby San Francisco municipality, who along with her kids, had travelled for 50 kilometres just to sneak past the park’s sentries and catch a glimpse of the reptile from the viewing area, several meters away from the lagoon.

Fast food on the Moon?

A pizza chain has announced plans to conquer the final frontier by opening the first restaurant on the Moon.

Domino’s Japanese arm proposed a branch on Earth’s satellite as the latest escalation in a pizza publicity war.

Rival chain Pizza Hut set the bar high by delivering a pizza to astronauts orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station.

Maeda Corp has now come up with a plan for a dome-shaped concrete Domino’s restaurant on the surface of the moon.

The company estimates the entire project will cost £13.4 billion (1.17 trillion rupees) — of which £4.5 billion (393.5 billion rupees) will be required to transport construction materials and pizza-making equipment to the moon aboard 15 rockets. Keen to make the most of local resources, Domino’s said it will keep costs down by using mineral deposits on the moon to make the concrete.

It would feature a two-storey dome with a diameter of around 26 metres and a basement level constructed of steel plating and an area to prepare pizzas. Staff would be required to live on the premises.

“We started thinking about this project last year, although we have not yet determined when the restaurant might open,” said Domino’s spokesman Tomohide Matsunaga.

“In the future, we anticipate there will be many people living on the moon, astronauts who are working there and, in the future, citizens of the moon.”


Exorbitant meal: Dog eats $10K worth of diamonds

A dog named Honey Bun in Albany, Georgia, apparently has a taste for the finer things in life.

The pooch, who often comes to work with jewellery store owner Chuck Roberts, dined on a meal of $10,000 (Rs 872462) worth of diamonds.

Honey Bun often walks on the display cases at John Ross Jewelers, and there have been no problems.

But recently, Roberts left some diamonds on his desk and Honey Bun got up there.

When he came back, the diamonds were gone. Honey Bun, naturally, kept mum on who the culprit might be.

X-rays confirmed that Honey Bun was, in fact, the guilty party.

A couple of days later, they were found where you might expect.

Honey Bun was given a reprieve and a clean bill of health. Roberts is now keeping a closer eye on his precious gems.


Turning tables: Man arrested for biting python

A snakebite in a north Sacramento neighbourhood left the victim seriously hurt, but the injured party isn’t whom you’d expect.

David Senk, 54, was jailed on suspicion of maiming or mutilating a reptile, with bail set at $10,000 (Rs872462).

Police say a python underwent emergency surgery after a man allegedly bit the creature twice.

Officers were called to Del Paso Heights after a passer-by reported that a man was lying on the ground and might have been assaulted, according to Sgt. Andrew Pettit. When they arrived, they found David Senk, 54, still lying there — but police say he wasn’t the one who was assaulted.

Another man approached officers and accused Senk of taking two bites out of his pet python, Pettit said.

The man, who was an acquaintance of Senk, told police that the suspect asked to hold the pet and then began biting into it. Senk was arrested on suspicion of unlawfully maiming or mutilating a reptile and booked on $10,000 (Rs872462) bail.


Cross-eyed opossum retires

Heidi the cross-eyed opossum is being put into retirement at the ripe old age of three-and-a-half to save her from the stress of her celebrity lifestyle. The mad-eyed marsupial became a worldwide sensation from her enclosure at Leipzig Zoo, Germany, when pictures of her appeared on the internet. Hundreds of thousands signed up to become her Facebook friends and she even had a stint at co-hosting an Oscars show in a live TV link-up with Hollywood.

Now keepers say she must withdraw from public life so she can enjoy what’s left of her life in peace and quiet.

“Opossums in the wild live for three years at the most but in captivity in the right conditions Heidi could make it to five,” explained one keeper.

Zoo spokesman Fabian Schmidt explained: “Heidi’s lifestyle could have contributed to her problems so we have put her into retirement.”

Heidi is even to be separated from her breeding partner Teddy to save her from being bothered.

“We do not want to give her any added stress. Due to her advancing age there were only very slim chances of offspring anyway and that chance has now passed,” said Mr Schmidt.


Woman punches bear to save dog

A 22-year-old woman from Alaska said that she punched a black bear in the face to save her small dog from being carried off and possibly eaten.

Juneau resident Brooke Collins said she hit the bear Sunday night to save the life of her dachshund, Fudge. She said she discovered the bear crouched down, clutching Fudge in its paws and biting the back of the dog’s neck.

“It had her kind of like when they eat salmon,” Collins said Wednesday. “I was freaking out. I was screaming at it. My dog was screaming. I ran up to it … I just punched it right in the snout and it let go.”

Collins said her boyfriend then scared the bear away. “I think it was more startled than anything,” she said.

Collins, a hairdresser who has lived in Juneau most of her life, said she is accustomed to bears and knows how to take precautions around them.

She also knew about this particular bear before Sunday’s attack because it has been hanging around the neighbourhood.


Ipad 2 — now available in wood!

Ashley McDowell, 22, thought she had picked up the bargain of the century with an iPad 2 for $180 (Rs 15380). Unfortunately, she subsequently found out that she’d actually shelled out for a painted plank of wood. Ms McDowell was approached by two men in a McDonald’s car park in Spartanburg, South Carolina, who claimed to have bought the cutting-edge Apple tablets at a knock-down price.

They showed Ms McDowell a brand new iPad as a show of good faith and even knocked $120 (Rs10469) off the original price they quoted her of $300 (Rs26173), well below the listed price for the gadget.

The duo then carried a Fed-Ex box to her car and she made them the payment without checking the contents of the package, only to find she had been sold a piece of wood, with an Apple logo on the back.

It was also framed with black tape and had pasted icons for the California-based firm’s web browser Safari, an email inbox and an iPhoto icon.

The duo even mocked up a fake Best Buy receipt for the iPad.

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Tony Ivey said while the department has seen a rise in scams involving items bought from craigslist or eBay, this is the first it has heard about iPads being sold from a vehicle.


Stolen parrot plays Sherlock Holmes

A bird-brained crook was arrested after a parrot he stole turned into a police informer.

Burglar Hu Feng sold the creature to a pet shop, which was later visited by the bird’s distraught owner.

When the parrot saw its master, it ‘shouted out’ and subsequently the pet shop owner gave the thief’s name and address to the police.

The bird’s owner Wang Lu, from Beijing, said, “The shop owner hadn’t been able to make the bird talk but as soon as he saw me he wouldn’t stop.”

“He even did impressions of the geese on our farm.”

Police quickly located the burglar and arrested him for the theft while the happy relationship between parrot and its relieved owner resumed. African parrots, in particular, are often the target of illegal traders and can be sold on the black market for as little as £260 (Rs 36353).

Some breeds in Mauritius, the Seychelles and Uganda have become extinct because of poaching.


Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

More in Life & Style