1. 80 Falcons
The post "My captain friend sent me this photo. Saudi prince bought tickets for his 80 hawks," has since gone crazy viral. Business Insider notes that the birds are likely falcons, not hawks. The falcon is the national bird of the United Arab Emirates, and falconry is a favorite pursuit of the wealthy.
2. Passengers find a real snake on a plane
In a video clip that wouldn't be out of place in Hollywood blockbuster Snakes on a Plane, passengers on a flight in Mexico were shocked to see a bright green serpent dropping into the cabin from the overhead luggage compartment. Aeromexico said the snake was found on Sunday during a flight from Torreon to Mexico City. The plane was given priority landing and workers "secured the reptile", said the airline, which is investigating how it managed to get on to the flight in the first place.
Hunter gored by dead elk
A hunter has been impaled on the antlers of a dead elk, after an accident in the remote Maury Mountains, Oregon, officials say. Gary Heeter, 69, was dragging the carcass of a large elk behind his offroad quad bike when the vehicle flipped and catapulted him on to the animal's antlers. Heeter was airlifted to hospital and remains in a stable condition.
Halloween syringe blamed on cat
An investigation into how a young Canadian found a syringe among her Halloween sweets has revealed the culprit to be a "clumsy cat". Officials say the cat accidentally knocked an unused insulin syringe from a shelf into a bowl of sweets meant for children trick-or-treating. It was then scooped up into the girl's bag. No charges will be made.
3. Daniel the diaper-wearing ‘emotional support duck’ stuns passengers on-board a flight
The four-year-old Indian Runner is an emotional support animal - provided by medical professionals to people with disabilities.
Young Daniel boarded the flight from Charlotte to Asheville wearing a red Captain America diaper.
He also sported a pair of red shoes to protect his webbed feet and a leash.
Full name Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt, the duck belongs to his 20-year-old owner who picked him up at a yard sale.
Fellow passenger Mark Essig met the young woman at the airport terminal and he live tweeted the unusual journey that followed.
Essig - an author from North Carolina - told the Citizen-Times about his first encounter with the animal.
He explained: “He was in one of those little pet stroller things, and I peeked in expecting to see a dog and there was a duck. I said ‘Hello’.
“He had lunched on chicken fries from Burger King, which seemed to be verging on cannibalistic to me.”
Once on-board, Daniel poked his way around the aisles and sat up staring out the window.
He also returned to ‘kiss’ his owner with his beak numerous times.
Essig said: “I have flown a fair amount, but I've never seen any companion poultry on a plane.”
Daniel’s entertaining ride has gone viral since Essig shared it online.
His series of tweets have been shared thousands of times and the duck’s companion has now reached out to the author.
Another passenger recently live tweeted her encounter with a non-human passenger of her own.
4. Now passenger takes an emotional support pig on a plane
As much as we enjoyed the pictures of a passenger’s emotional support turkey on a flight that circulated on Reddit last week, we think this emotional support pig might have the bird beat.
Megan Peabody, 28, from the Virgin Islands shared pictures of her support pig Hamlet’s trip on an American Airlines flight on Instagram last month, and this is one seasoned traveller.
He was travelling back to the Virgin Islands via San Juan, Puerto Rico, after spending Christmas with family in Boston.
Megan is allowed to take Hamlet into the cabin as a comfort animal on some US airlines, with the appropriate documentation, because she is a nervous flyer. She says Hamlet provides ‘a lovely distraction’.
5. Unusual events at airports, on airplanes
6. Miniature Horse
Just ask Cheryl Spencer, a woman from Jacksonville, Florida, who is blind. After losing two guide dogs to old age, Spencer now relies on Confetti—a 3-year-old miniature Appaloosa horse. The horse was given to Spencer by JBR Ranch in Christmas, Florida, after Confetti’s owner decided she’d make a better guide horse than a pet. Confetti raises eyebrows—and awareness—everywhere she goes. Like guide dogs, Confetti wears a harness that allows her to lead Spencer in the right direction and, more importantly, protect her.
“I feel as secure with the horse as with the dogs, because horses are naturally more safety-conscious,” Spencer says. “I know she is looking out for me as much as she is for herself. She considers me to be an extension of herself.”
Guide horses are a relatively new concept. Don and Janet Burleson of Kittrell, North Carolina, founded the nonprofit Guide Horse Foundation (www.guidehorse.org) in 1999 to assess whether miniature horses could be trained as guides for the blind. Today, the program provides them to blind people at no cost. “Horses are all about getting from one place to another safely,” Don Burleson says. “Also, horses have phenomenally long memories, so once they’re trained, they’re trained for good.”
According to Burleson, Horses have better peripheral vision than dogs—and they can be housebroken— but their biggest plus may be their longevity. Burleson points out that guide dogs typically work only eight to 10 years, but horses live longer and could work up to 30 years. That’s significant to Spencer, who was so attached to her guide dogs that when her second one retired, she vowed she would not get another. Then she learned about guide horses.
Like guide dogs, guide horses are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, which means they cannot be denied access to public accommodations. Confetti has been on buses and airplanes, and in restaurants and malls.
“People’s reactions are mostly shock and surprise, then amazement, and then they are thrilled we’re there,” says Spencer’s husband, Chris. “We have never been denied access anywhere.”–Jimmy Tomlin
7. Aggressive spiders cause panic on Canada-bound plane
The two hairy spiders were spotted towards the end of an Air Transat flight from Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, to Montreal in April.
Homeland Security: 'be patient' as airport lines reach extreme lengths
“I was wearing a skirt and a spider crawled up my leg,” Catherine Moreau of Québec told Radio-Canada. “It was during the meal. My husband managed to catch the spider in a plastic container, but it wriggled its legs out. My daughter was crying, she was in shock.”
Flight attendants, she added, weren’t sure what to do, with some of them scared to come near the spiders.
The union that represents Air Transat flight attendants said the plane’s crew did all they could to keep passengers calm, instructing them to put their shoes on and cover their ankles. “They gave first aid to the person who said that a spider climbed their legs,” said Julie Roberts.
One of the spiders was captured during the flight. The second continued to roam the interior of the plane until the flight landed in Montreal, where it was trapped by a federal agent.
The tarantulas were likely Phormictopus cancerides, a species common to the Dominican Republic, Montreal-based entomologist Étienne Normandin told Radio-Canada. Ranging in length between 10cm and 20cm, the spider has fangs that can grow to 2cm or more.
Normandin described it as an aggressive species, but one whose venom is not very powerful.
Pointing to a lucrative market for live tarantulas, Normandin speculated the spiders may have been hidden in a passenger’s carry-on. “It’s a species that is often sold,” he said. Adult males of the species are coveted for the blue sheen on their carapace, which fades to a brass colour over time.
Air Transat described it as an “extraordinary and isolated event”. A spokesperson for the airline added in an email, “Passengers who have seen the spiders (we have no confirmation of the species) were certainly surprised, but according to our flight report, they reacted calmly.”
The union said several recommendations had emerged from the incident, resulting in a clear procedure to be followed should a similar incident occur in the future.
8. Baby Kangaroo