Pet snakes under the bonnet and other stories from the frontiers of the believable

D ead rabbit traps snake in hamster hoax. The Spanish daily El Mundo reports a case of a garage mechanic who was startled when a two- metre long boa constrictor popped its head out of the body of a car he was working on. The car's owner, who had lost his pet snake a month ago, took the car to another garage where he asked them to find his pet hamster. When they could not find the hamster, he admitted it was a 14kg snake, so they coaxed it out by feeding it with a dead rabbit.

Particle accelerator brought to a halt by beer. The world's largest particle accelerator, the LEP Collider at CERN in Geneva, failed at the end of last week, shortly after an expensive refit. Five days of investigations led to the discovery of two beer bottles in a vacuum chamber. A spokesman commented: "This really was the beer that reached the parts other beers cannot reach."

Annie get your starting pistol. Danish police have refused to give a firearms permit to a theatre in the town of Kolding for their production of the musical Annie Get Your Gun. A disappointed stage manager commented: "We have borrowed some starting pistols instead, but even though they give nearly the same sound it's not the same as using real weapons."

Skydiving Elvis impersonator tragedy. The opening celebrations of a nightclub in the Boston area ended in disaster as four Elvis impersonators were blown off course in a skydiving stunt. The four, all members of the Honeymoon in Vegas skydiving team, had planned to land in the car park of the WaterWorks nightclub in Marina Bay, but strong winds blew one of them into a yacht club and another suffered back injuries on landing. One of the men subsequently died in hospital. A Boston police spokesman said: "Elvis hit town - he just hit it too hard."

Police in Rotherham are looking for a wall. Wickersley hairdresser Ann Tattershall was surprised to find that a 15ft by 3ft wall had been stolen from behind her salon. "I'm amazed something like this could disappear," she said. "It's not the sort of thing you could fit in the boot of your car."

Police in Birmingham are looking for a garden. Mary Cookson and Richard Reeves returned home this week to find their garden missing. Workmen, who had previously called at the house to offer to install a new drive, had turned up to do the job despite being told that it wasn't wanted. The builders have now disappeared, leaving a mass of rubble in place of the previously well-tended front drive and lawn.

Geese's goose is cooked. Despite petitions from the "Friends of Ducks and Geese" animal welfare group, a judge in Michigan has ruled in favour of local authority plans to slaughter 500 Canada geese. The birds are said to wreak havoc in populated areas, particularly with their "canine- sized" droppings. "The law doesn't allow the government to kill nuisance water fowl just because people don't like where they leave their doo-doo," an attorney commented.

Flashy males get more women, according to some new research on fireflies. Entomologists at the University of Kansas have discovered a new method of stimulating the flashing mechanism of fireflies and have used it to examine their sex lives. The results, published in a letter in the current issue of Nature, show that females take the important decisions concerning who mates with whom, and they tend to prefer the males who flash their luminescent tails most often.

Family lunches can cause distress. Particularly in Taiwan, where Vice President Lien Chan is under attack for having lunch with his mother. Each day 200 traffic police and security guards are put on high alert an hour before lunchtime to halt and divert traffic to ensure a smooth ride for the vice-presidential limousine. This cuts what would normally be a half-hour drive down to four minutes, but causes considerable traffic jams near the route. The Mayor of Taipei has offered to deliver lunch to Lien Chan's desk, but Lien, 59, is reluctant to break a long tradition of lunching with his mum.

Old boiler wins whisky. A 1964 Fulton Model 30E oil-fired steam boiler has won its owners a bottle of 15-year-old malt whisky, in a competition to find the country's oldest Fulton steam boiler still operating successfully. According to a report in Laundry & Cleaning Today, the old boiler was bought 32 years ago by the Elizabeth Manners dry-cleaning firm in Birmingham to replace a coil generator that had given only three years of service.

Six funerals and a reprimand. The Chinese authorities have sacked or otherwise punished six senior officials for arranging over-elaborate funerals for relatives or colleagues. According to a party circular: "The extravagant funerals, particularly those with tints of superstition, are a phenomenon of serious corruption and an equally serious violation of the party's discipline, which poison the social mood and damage the image of the Communist Party and government."

Financial speculation is like water down the drain. According to a report in Nature, the mathematical equations used to describe water turbulence provide a surprisingly good fit to the behaviour of the foreign exchange market.

Wizard tips Yeltsin to win. Yuri Longo, a Russian wizard famed for his televised seances, has predicted that Boris Yeltsin will defeat Gennady Zyuganov in the run-off for the Russian presidency. "I know Yeltsin has a team providing extra-sensory help and cosmic force. The election is a huge psychic battle for him and this extra-sensory help is very important," he said, but added that Yeltsin will have to leave office in 1997 through ill health.

Blackbirds of a feather. The Kent fire brigade needed to call for a hydraulic platform to rescue a crow trapped high in a tree. The fire-fighter who finally succeeded in cutting the bird free was named Jeff Rook.

Suggested Topics
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

    £64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

    Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam