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

The Wind in the Willows, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

A riveting ride down the river

Confessions of an estate agent

Charles Webb of the Camden Bus Estate Agents

Science: Ever heard a sex-crazed spider buzz?

The British Library's sound archive has been recording animals, birds and insects for 30 years. What can we learn about life on earth from the snapping, vibrating and howling of beasts?

Open Eye: New ponds can be good news for newts

Frogs and toads travel, but spare newts a long walk, says Yvonne Cook

Property: Three To View - Animal Magic

400-YEAR-OLD FOX COTTAGE

On the Fringe

Toad New End Theatre n Les Liaisons Dangereuses Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Species dying out as clouds evaporate

SCORES OF animals are close to extinction because the cloud forests of central America are being destroyed through climate change.

Scottish fossil lizard may be the first land-dweller

A SMALL lizard-like animal whose fossilised remains have been found in an ancient Scottish lake bed may have been one of the first creatures to live on dry land, scientists reported yesterday.

Traffic stops for troubled toad

IN WHAT is believed the first scheme of its kind in Britain, a busy country road will be closed to traffic this morning to prevent hundreds of toads being squashed on their perilous crawl towards breeding ponds.

Letter: Hoddle pilloried

Sir: Leave poor crass Hoddle alone. If what he believes is true then he will come back as a toad.

Species feared extinct as Lucky the pool frog dies

WHAT IS believed to have been Britain's sole surviving pool frog has died, only a few years after zoologists discovered the species was still living in Britain.
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones