The Weird Week in Review

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Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

State Record Gator Killed in Mississippi -Twice

Labor Day was a big weekend for alligator hunting in Mississippi. A six-person crew led by hunter Sean King of Yazoo City hooked what they joked was the Loch Ness Monster in Issaquena County. They hauled in an alligator that weighed 723.5 pounds, breaking the state record.

But the record was only good for about an hour. At the same time, Dustin Bockman of Vicksburg and his crew were chasing a very large alligator in the Mississippi River near Port Gibson. They were able to shoot the animal after a couple of hours of wrangling. Then there was a several-hours wait for help getting him into a boat. That's when he heard about the earlier 723-pound gator.

Bockman said he couldn’t believe it and thought he’d probably missed his chance at the claim of harvesting a state-record alligator by an hour. “I knew he was over 700, but I wasn’t sure about 723,” he said.

However, when Bockman’s 13-foot, 4.5-inch gator was lifted, the scales stopped at 727 pounds and the hour-old state record fell.

Believe it or not, those weren't the only gator records broken in Mississippi. Earlier in the weekend, Brandon “Boo” Maskew of Ellisville bagged a a female alligator weighing 295.3 pounds, setting a state record for the longest and heaviest female caught.

Stork Held On Suspicion Of Spying

A man fishing in the Nile river at Qena, Egypt, spotted a stork that had a suspicious electronic device attached to it. He captured the bird and alerted authorities to a possible case of espionage. Qena security chief Mohammed Kamal said the bird was taken into custody. Eventually, authorities figured out that the electronic device was a wildlife tracker, attached to the bird by French scientists. The device only worked within French borders, so the bird was cleared of spying charges. However, the bird remained in police custody until permission for its release could be obtained from higher-ups. And you thought the stork only brought babies.

Online Class on The Walking Dead

The University of California at Irvine is offering a free online class called “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead.” Four instructors from the departments of social science, public health, physics, and mathematics will each relate their field to the scenario of a zombie apocalypse. The class has been endorsed by AMC, which even made cast members available to the instructors for interviews. The eight-week class will begin October 14th, the day after the new season of the TV series premieres.

Snake in Toilet Discovered at Texas Starbucks

Bruce Ahlswede visited the men's room at a Starbucks outlet in San Antonio, Texas, where he got a "grande" surprise. A snake was draped across the toilet! He first thought it was a prank toy snake, but then it moved. When Ahlswede summoned his wife and store employees to see, the snake slithered around and disappeared -down into the pipes. But it was caught on camera. A snake expert from the South Texas Herpetology Association studied the photo and declared it to be a non-poisonous rat snake. The snake was never caught.

Children Burned by Fruit

Stephanie Ellwanger of Hanford, England, took her two daughters and three of their friends to a pool party. By the next morning, the girls looked to be badly sunburnt. All five girls developed burns to the point of blisters, and were taken to a hospital. They were all admitted with second-degree burns over 15% of their bodies. Doctors suspected chemical burns.

A neighbor had a large lime tree that grew over the fence into the backyard where the girls went swimming. They had picked some of the fruits and squeezed them out into imaginary tea cups in their play lemonade stand.

Was there something on the limes? Ellwanger wondered about pesticides. She mentioned this to the doctors, then went home to do some research.

A few attempts on Google yielded a term she’d never heard before: Phytophotodermatitis, a chemical reaction that makes bare skin hypersensitive to ultraviolet light. It’s caused by contact with photosensitizing compounds which occur naturally in some fruits and vegetables — like limes.

The girls spent two weeks in the hospital, and now have to be home schooled to avoid sunlight. Phytophotodermatitis can be caused by lemon, lime, celery, carrot, and other foods.

Inmate Caught with "Derrieringer"

Mark Gregory Valadez of Wichita, Kansas, was arrested by the Oklahoma City Police Sunday morning on a unnamed minor charge. He was taken to the local jail, where he underwent a pat-down, but not an invasive search or a trip through a metal detector. About 16 hours later, he was finally subjected to a full body cavity search, which yielded a loaded gun found in his rear end. The Derringer held one bullet. Valdez was then charged with possessing contraband in a penal institution, which is a felony. Valdez was taken to a hospital due to suffering the "adverse impact of placing a Derringer inside his body."

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June 9, 2013 - 11:01am
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