Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Australia Rocked By 'Lesbian' Koala Revelation


Female koalas indulge in lesbian "sex sessions", rejecting male suitors and attempting to mate with each other, sometimes up to five at a time, according to researchers.

The furry, eucalyptus-eating creatures appear to develop this tendency for same-sex liaisons when they are in captivity. In the wild, they remain heterosexual.

Scientists monitoring the marsupials with digital cameras counted three homosexual interactions for every heterosexual one.

"Some females rejected the advances of males that were in their enclosures, only to become willing participants in homosexual encounters immediately after," say the researchers.

"On several occasions more than one pair of females shared the same pole, and multiple females mounted each other simultaneously. At least one multiple encounter involved five female koalas."

One theory put forward by the researchers is that the females do it to attract males; another is that it is simply hormonal, or that it is a stress reliever.

Scientists from the University of Queensland studied 130 koalas in captivity and will publish their results in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

"Our aim was to determine the extent of differences in the homosexual and heterosexual behaviour of female koalas and thereby to determine the purpose of female homosexual behaviour in the koala," say the researchers.

"Wild koalas brought into captivity clearly display homosexual behaviour on a regular basis. A total of 15 heterosexual and 43 homosexual interactions were recorded in separate animals. Homosexual behaviour was restricted to females only. Heterosexual encounters were typically twice as long as homosexual encounters," they add.

Python Bites (And Strangles) Hand That Feeds It!

HANOI (Khaleej Times) - A python raised as a pet in southern Vietnam strangled its owner, who had cared for it for more than 10 years, as he was cleaning the giant snake’s cage, an official said on Tuesday.

The 40-kilogram, 2.5-meter reptile reached out and wrapped itself around the neck of Nguyen Viet Ho, 69, and squeezed him to death after he opened the door of the cage to clean it Monday, according to a local government official.

“When other family members found Ho, he was already dead, but the snake wasn’t trying to swallow him,” said Duong Huu Thien, a government official from Kien Giang province, 250 kilometres southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

The killer python is the biggest among nine snakes raised in Ho’s farm, where they were often fed rats and chickens.

Both the family and local officials are mystified as to why the python attacked its caretaker

“The python might have caught a disease or it had been left hungry for too long,” Thien said. “It was a friendly animal and Ho used to take it out of the cage to bathe it.”

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Half Ton Colossal Squid Caught in New Zealand!

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.

If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, one expert said.

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 pounds and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.

The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand "and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep," Anderton said.

The fishing crew and a fisheries official on board their ship estimated the length and weight of the squid: Detailed, official measurements have not been made. The date when the colossus was caught also was not disclosed.

Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean.

If original estimates are correct, the squid would be 330 pounds heavier than the next biggest specimen ever found.

"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," said Dr. Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology.

Colossal squid can descend to 6,500 feet and are extremely active, aggressive hunters, he said.

The frozen squid will be transported to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, in the capital, Wellington, to be preserved for scientific study.

Marine scientists "will be very interested in this amazing creature as it adds immeasurably to our understanding of the marine environment," Anderton said.

Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters and are not related to giant squid found round the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid grow up to 39 feet long, but are not as heavy as colossal squid.