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The skinny

The skinny: Five-foot condo lizard's reign of terror is short-lived

Hissy fit

Condo lizard's reign of terror is short-lived

Animal services officers often get calls reporting "huge," monstrous reptiles, only to arrive and find a little garden snake. But the 5-foot, 45-pound monitor lizard wandering around a condo complex in Riverside, Calif., was way bigger than animal control officer Jenny Selter expected. "The residents were freaking out because here's the Godzilla-like creature walking down the sidewalk," said John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County Animal Services. The lizard put up a fight, but Selter and a police officer got it into her truck. Black-throated monitor lizards are carnivorous, legal to own in California and native to the African grasslands and parts of Asia.

Looked good on paper

Crematorium cool to heating a pool

The Redditch Town Council has been criticized for plans to be the first in Britain to use its crematorium furnace to heat a swimming pool at a neighboring sports center. City officials chiefs say that will help save money and fight global warming at the same time. But Simon Thomas of Thomas Brothers Funeral Directors told the Guardian newspaper, "I don't know how comfortable people would feel about the swimming pool being heated due to the death of a loved one." Council leader Carole Gandy defended the plan, saying: "It will make absolutely no difference to the people who are using the crematorium for services."

No-pain dentistry

Happy patients keep saying 'ah!'

German dentist Marie Catherine Klarkowski is finding the low-cut dresses she bought for herself and her staff are working wonders at her Munich practice. She got the idea after watching male visitors at the local Oktoberfest admiring women in traditional dresses. Klarkowski, 41, said: "Some patients' mouths are already wide open on entering the practice, and that is just what a dentist wants." She also has a third more patients since the outfits were introduced — all of them male.

Congressional hawk

To set it free, bird is first captured

It's got a bill, but not the kind officials in the Library of Congress were interested in. So a Cooper's hawk that spent a week in the dome of the library was temporarily deprived of its freedom Wednesday. Officials who normally celebrate liberty were quite glad of that fact. The hawk flew into the library's main reading room Jan. 19 and couldn't get out. Happily, said Ken Knowles of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia, it got hungry enough to be lured by bait — two live starlings. The hawk will get a free checkup at taxpayers' expense and eventually be released into the wild.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.

The skinny: Five-foot condo lizard's reign of terror is short-lived 01/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:04pm]
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