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

Frog's-eye view of the campaign

While the general election will be the first to move on to the information superhighway, both Labour and the Conservatives are already cruising in the fast lane with their instant rebuttal computer systems.

Remember origami? It's gone digital ...

cd-rom review; Andy Oldfield and young friends test a program that lets you print out and make 600 paper toys

Rescue plan is launched for the vanishing natterjack toad

A century ago the natterjack toad was still common across much of Britain. You could find it as close to London as Blackheath.

LETTER: Spell it right or the frog gets it

From Master Allie Johnstone

Bellamy puts a brave face on Frogwatch

NICHOLAS SCHOON

A weekly round-up of rural rumpuses

As a novel change from owls falling victim to humans (see above), humans fell victim to an owl last week. Passers-by on a council estate at Kimberworth in South Yorkshire were left battered and bleeding by a dive-bombing tawny owl. One man thought he had been mugged when he was hit from behind and left pouring with blood. After six days the owl was captured by Paul Kettleborough, a falconer. He said: "I've never known an owl act like this before ... I went up with my fishing net and was hit once on the head before it came for my face ... The owl has been hand-reared by someone who knows very little about birds of prey. They've probably got fed up with the noise and set it free."

Virus is blamed for killing off frogs

STEVE CONNOR

If 30,000 newts could vote, John Major would be out

Ken Livingstone detects Tory party machinations behind the threat to a colony of rare amphibians in the Prime Minister's constituency

LETTER: Duck tales

What's this? First the Weasel thinks he's a rodent, and now he appears to think that ducks are amphibians (Up & Down Canary Wharf, 25 March). Is the Weasel a sheaf short of a stook?

Freak frogs catch nature-lovers on the hop

Nature-watchers across Britain have been taken by surprise by the emergence of orange-coloured frogs in garden ponds indulging in early spring mating displays.

Ancient frog

North Korean archaeologists discovered the fossil of a frog which lived about 150 million years ago, proving, officials said, that the peninsula was a cradle of human civilisation, Reuter reports from Tokyo. The remains were found near the north- western city of Sinuiju, near the border with China.

Toads rule road

Safety work at the side of the A40 near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is being delayed until toads which cross it have finished their mating season. In order to prevent the toads being crushed by cars volunteers regularly patrol the road and carry the animals across in buckets.

Letter: Of frogs and heroines

Sir: Emma Bagnall ('Dear Dorothea Brooke', 20 January) misses the point about Dorothea - and about George Eliot, too.

Letter: Matthew Arnold: man of the people

Sir: Bryan Appleyard grossly misrepresents Matthew Arnold by inventing a tradition of 'ever-more paranoid assertion of the need for an inner cultural priesthood that would protect the highest and the best from the lowest and the worst' and frog-marching Arnold into it. The author of Culture and Anarchy believed

Germans declare a new war on frog foreigners

FROGS and politics are not a familiar pairing. In the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, however, the American bullfrog has, together with a number of other exotic amphibians, been declared an unwelcome alien.
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor