Life and Style Merry Christmas! Here's a snake in a hat.

Snakes in hats has become the latest pet trend to take online forums by storm, take a look at some of the most stylish here

Roar of traffic drowns out frogs' love croaks

Traffic noise could be ruining the sex lives of urban frogs by drowning out the seductive croaks of amorous males, according to an Australian researcher.

Slaughter of the cane toads: sport for all, Aussie-style

Hated amphibians will be turned into fertiliser for the farmers they have plagued

Amphibians and reptiles: how terrestrial living was transformed by the evolution of better adapted species

Today's tour of the aeons before the appearance of the human species on Earth begins with a rare and most important piece of evolutionary evidence provided by the fossils of a creature called Tiktaalik which were discovered on Ellesmere Island, Canada, in 2004.

Leading article: Jumping frogs

They say that if you want to boil a frog, you don't throw it into scalding water as the creature will simply leap out. Instead, you turn up the heat slowly.

Insect could halt spread of superweed

Scientists tackling the thorny problem of a foreign superweed hope a humble insect could halt its rampage across the UK's gardens.

Half of Europe's frogs face extinction

More than half of all amphibian species in Europe could become extinct by 2050 because of a combination of habitat loss, infectious diseases and the effects of climate change, scientists have found.

Solved: Mystery of the sex-change toads

New studies pin blame for decline on farm pesticides

World's 'weird' amphibians face extinction

What do a blind salamander that can go without food for a decade, a frog so small that it fits on a drawing pin and another that lives only in the human burial grounds have in common?

Gaspar Nagy

Dissident Hungarian poet

Album: Underworld and Gabriel Yared <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Breaking and Entering: Music from the Film, V2

Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol trans by Cheryl Leah Morgan

Today's forecast: angst, fantasy, action and unidentified monsters

The polluted planet: Alarm as global study finds one-third of amphibians face extinction

They were the first animals with backbones to walk on land. They witnessed the rise and fall of the dinosaurs and were present at the birth of a bipedal ape who went on to become the most destructive species the planet has ever known.

Intelligence? Intellectual courage? You won't hear that from anyone in TV

Some of the most exclusivist people I know are populists: they'll kill to prevent the dissemination of anything else
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?