Firefighter in Mich. rescues 6-foot python
A firefighter put his reptile-handling experience to good use when he rescued a snake from a burning home in western Michigan. Firefighter Scott Hemmelsbach told the Muskegon Chronicle that he reluctantly agreed to enter the two-story, smoke-filled house Sunday night to retrieve the python. He says he cradled the "weighty" snake before carrying it to safety. "It was trying to crawl up the side of his terrarium and get out," he said. "His face was pushed up on the screen and trying to get out. There was a lot of smoke and he was trapped." The firefighter said he learned how to handle snakes while in high school. "I would do it for any creature," he said. "I'm just glad it had a happy ending."
Panda baby may venture outside
The National Zoo in Washington says giant panda cub Bao Bao may soon go outside for the first time with her mother. The zoo said Monday that Bao Bao will have access to her mother Mei Xiang's yard this week beginning each day about 8 a.m. Zookeepers say she'll have the option of going outside if the temperature is at least 35 degrees and it's not raining or snowing. Animal keepers have "cub-proofed" the panda yards. They placed collars on trees to prevent Bao Bao from climbing too high. Some tree limbs have been trimmed, and the keepers spread out bales of hay to cushion any falls.
Parody attack ads
Toronto mayor mocked by 'rivals'
A series of campaign signs have been posted in Toronto featuring phony mayoral candidates with slogans that mock current Mayor Rob Ford, infamous for admitting that he smoked crack cocaine — and still running for re-election. The signs were posted by the "No Ford Nation" political group started by Christina Robins. "We want to get back to a mayor who doesn't embarrass us," Robins said. Among the phony slogans: "He promises to just smoke pot as mayor. Not crack." And: "When I urinate in public, I never get caught on camera."
Road kill caesarean
C-section on dead animal saves baby
A Maine man in search of a valuable mineral cut open a dead porcupine on the side of the road and unexpectedly pulled out its baby. Jared Buzzell of Lisbon says he was searching for wild mushrooms recently when he saw a porcupine get hit by a car in Minot. Buzzell says he'd heard that a valuable mineral deposit used in Chinese medicine formed in the stomachs of porcupines. When he cut open the dead animal he instead found the baby. He tells WMTW-TV he cut the umbilical cord and thought the baby was dead until he started massaging it and it began breathing. Buzzell plans to give it to a licensed wildlife caregiver.
Compiled from wire services and other sources.