A new golf course at The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch in Seneca, Ore., will take “the golf experience … to a new level” in 2018. This summer, golfers will be offered goat caddies, who will carry clubs, drinks, balls and tees on the resort’s short seven-hole challenge course. “We’ve been developing an unprecedented caddie training program with our head caddie, Bruce LeGoat,” owner Scott Campbell said, adding that the professionally trained American Range goats will “work for peanuts.”
Reasons Not To Mail Tigers
The Federal Agency for Environmental Protection in Mexico is investigating an attempt to express-mail a Bengal tiger cub from Jalisco to Queretaro. The cub had been sedated and packed into a plastic container; a dog sniffing for contraband detected it. Wildlife agents said the cub was underweight and dehydrated, but otherwise healthy, and its papers were in order. However, because mailing it was considered mistreatment, it was relocated to a wildlife protection center.
New: Self-Cloning Crawfish
Frank Lyko is a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg with a narrow field of study: the marbled crayfish. Lyko and his colleagues report there’s more to the 6-inch crustacean than meets the eye. Until 25 years ago, this species didn’t exist. One single, drastic mutation created a whole new species of crawfish — one that could clone itself. Since then, it has spread across Europe and to other continents and threatened native varieties. The eggs of the crawfish all produce females, which don’t need to mate to produce more eggs. Lyko’s DNA research offers new insights into why most animals have sex — namely, sex-free species don’t last long. He says that the marbled crayfish may last only 100,000 years. “That would be a long time for me personally, but in evolution, it would just be a blip on the radar,” he said.
Homeowners in Noosa, Queensland, Australia, were perplexed about why their toilet kept flushing. So they looked into the flush mechanism embedded in the wall behind the toilet. Then they summoned Luke Huntley, a local snake catcher. Huntley found a 13-foot brown tree snake in the niche, resting on the flush mechanism. “Hopefully, he’s going to be able to come straight out,” Huntley said on a video of the capture, “but he’s a little grumpy.”
Dude Gets PR For His Dog
Terran Woolley of Hutchinson, Kan., got a bright idea after he read the bylaws and requirements for becoming the state’s governor. “I was reading some stories about the young teenagers that were entering the governor’s race … and I thought, ‘I wonder if … Angus could run,’” Woolley explained to KWCH-TV. Angus is Woolley’s wirehaired vizsla, a four-legged, furry friend of the people who Woolley said would promise soft couches and a “completely anti-squirrel agenda” if elected. Alas, on Feb. 12, the Kansas secretary of state’s office dashed Angus’ dreams when it declared that despite the fact that there are no specific restrictions against a dog being governor, Angus would be unable to carry out the responsibilities of the office.
No Humming Near The Birds
Birds nesting near natural gas compressors have been found to suffer symptoms similar to PTSD in human beings, according to researchers at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Noise pollution is the culprit. The researchers studied birds in the Rattlesnake Canyon Habitat Management Area in N.M., which, although it is uninhabited by human beings, does contain natural gas wells and compression stations that constantly emit a low-frequency hum. The steady noise was linked to abnormal levels of stress hormones in birds. The usually hardy western bluebirds in the area were found to be smaller than others and displayed bedraggled feathers. “The body is just starting to break down,” explained stress physiologist Christopher Lowry.
Government In Action
— Saugatuck, Mich., attorney Michael Haddock’s dog, Ryder, recently got a letter from the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. Haddock opened the envelope addressed to Ryder and found a letter stating that Ryder is eligible for $360 per week in unemployment benefits. “I knew he was clever,” Haddock said of Ryder, “but he surprised me this time.” The UIA admitted that its computer did send the notice to Ryder, but it was later flagged as suspicious. The German shepherd won’t receive any benefits after all.
— In New Hampshire, the state legislature is considering a bill that would hold owners of poultry responsible for the birds’ trespassing. According to the proposal, “anyone who knowingly, recklessly or negligently allows their domestic fowl to enter someone else’s property without permission” can be convicted if the birds damage crops or property. Rep. Michael Moffett, a Loudon Republican, told a committee that one man told him his neighbor was using chickens as a “form of harassment and provocation.” But Earl Tuson, a local vegetable farmer, opposed the bill, noting, “Everyone loves eating bacon until they move in next to the pig farm.”
Failure To Do Prop Clean-up
Rookie metal detectors Andy Sampson and Paul Adams were out looking for treasure along the Suffolk/Essex border in England when they came across more than 50 gold coins and pieces of pottery. Sampson said Adams started “shouting and jumping around and dancing.” As for himself, Sampson immediately started figuring out how he would spend the money, which the pair thought might amount to 250,000 pounds or more. Alas, when Sampson showed the coins to his neighbor, he said, “They’re not real — there’s something wrong with them.” Sure enough, when the treasure hunters made inquiries, they found that the coins and pottery were props for a BBC TV show, Detectorists. Sampson and Adams told the BBC that they have “got over” their huge disappointment and will continue to detect metal.
The Soft Sell
A North Little Rock, Ark., law firm celebrated Valentine’s Day in an unconventional way: Wilson & Haubert law firm hosted a contest to win a free divorce (which the law firm said was “a $985 value”). “Are you ready to call it quits?” the firm’s Facebook post asked. “Do you know someone that is?” Firm co-founder Brandon Haubert told WIS-TV that the firm received more than 40 entries in the first day it was offered.
When Elks Jump
A helicopter crew was contracted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in Wasatch County to track and capture an elk. As the crew lowered the aircraft to less than 10 feet above the ground to cast a net over the elk, the animal jumped and hit the tail rotor of the helicopter, causing it to crash. Mike Hadley with the Dept. of Wildlife Resources said helicopters are used to “capture and collar hundreds of animals every winter and we’ve never had this happen before.” The two crewmen walked away with just scratches and bruises, but the elk was killed.
A Snail In Your Elbow
A week after an 11-year-old boy scraped his elbow while playing in a tidal pool on a California beach, pediatricians treating him for the resulting abscess removed a small, hard object. They were surprised to discover a live checkered periwinkle marine snail. Dr. Albert Khait and his colleagues at Loma Linda University wrote that a snail’s egg had apparently become embedded in the boy’s skin when he scraped it. The mollusk later hatched inside the abscess. Khait said the boy took the snail home as a pet, but it did not survive living outside its former home.
We previously reported on the giant “fatberg” lodged in the sewer system beneath the streets of London. The huge glob of oil, fat, diapers and baby wipes was finally blasted out after nine weeks of work. On Feb. 8, the Museum of London put on display a shoebox-sized chunk of the fatberg, the consistency of which is described by curator Vyki Sparkes as being something like Parmesan cheese crossed with moon rock. The mini-fatberg is enclosed in three transparent boxes to protect visitors from potentially deadly bacteria, the terrible smell and the tiny flies that swarm around it. The museum is also selling fatberg fudge and T-shirts in conjunction with the exhibit.
Least Competent Criminals
Kenneth R. Shutes, Jr., of New Richmond, Wisc., bolted from a midnight traffic stop, but didn’t make it far before he had to call 911 for help. Shutes got stuck in a frozen swamp in rural Star Prairie, and, after an hour, became unable to walk, as temperatures dipped to -8 degrees. Fire and rescue workers removed Shutes from the wooded area. He was later charged in circuit court for failing to obey an officer, marijuana possession and obstructing an officer. Shutes told a deputy he “needed an incident like this because he was making poor decisions in his life.”