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

Bellamy joins battle to save colony of great crested newts: Rare amphibians' habitat earmarked by council for 35-acre rubbish tip

PROFESSOR David Bellamy, the biologist, stood welly-deep in a sodden Dorset field near the Hardy village of Holnest yesterday, and upbraided Dorset County Council's scheme to turn the landscape into a gigantic rubbish tip for the urban dustbins of Sherborne, five miles to the north.

Letter: Fired-up frogs

Sir: If frogs are key indicators of the state of the environment, as some naturalists have said, then ours may not be so bad as people think. This morning, there are 11 heaps of frogspawn lying on the surface of our quite small garden pond. There are seven pairs of mating frogs thoughtfully being optimistic about the future and five or six other individuals hanging around wondering whether to join in. We live within a few miles of some of the Trent's coal-fired power stations.

Toads treated

Two tunnels have been built under a road to save toads from being flattened in the mating season. The passages, to the Grand Western Canal in Tiverton, Devon, were part of a pounds 160,000 road improvement.

Croak of gold

New Delhi, India (AP) - A frog swallowed a gold chain, left on a riverbank by a woman bather - and sparked off a massacre of frogs in a south-western Indian village, according to newspaper reports.

The mystery killer in the garden pond: Our frogs are dying and experts fear the problem may herald even more serious environmental concerns, says Nicholas Roe

GAIL HUGGETT meets us at the front door of her home in Reigate, Surrey, and leads the way into the back garden saying: 'You think they're alive at first, but when you touch them they don't move. I've been burying them in the compost heap.' She is talking about an environmental tragedy of possibly worldwide significance, the evidence for which, she tells us, is waiting in a bucket at the bottom of the garden.

Between the lines / Writer Billy Roche on the smell of the greasepaint

It's like flowers that smell. We'll bust a bag tomorrow. I'll bring you some.

Disappearing Britain: Natterjack digs in as its habitat is invaded: Oliver Gillie reports on a threatened amphibian which likes the beach life

THE NATTERJACK toad is fighting to retain its territory in northern Europe. Acid rain is polluting its breeding ponds; common toads and frogs are invading its favoured sites and poaching its food.

Frog inquiry

An investigation has been launched by the RSPCA- backed Frog Mortality Project at London Zoo to try to discover the mystery disease which is wiping out Britain's frogs.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links