Odds and Ends – May 31, 2019

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Whose poo is this? Prague Zoo takes a closer look at dung

Prague (AP) — After producing plenty of elephant dung and other manure for years, Prague Zoo has capitalized on its expertise by creating a new permanent exhibit on the world of animal excrement. It displays information and samples of everything from fossil turds, also known as coprolites, from extinct animals to the excrement of modern-day gorillas, lions, elephants, horses, turtles, wombats, camels and other animals, all in various sizes, shapes, textures and colors. Zoo director Miroslav Bobek, whose surname literally means “poop” in Czech, says he was inspired by American George Frandsen and his online museum. The exhibition coincides with the zoo’s publication of a new edition of the “Encyclopedia of Excrements.” The zoo has been selling elephant dung to gardeners as fertilizer for years.

(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

New Jersey homeowner finds 2 bears battling in his yard

Frankford Township, N.J. (AP) — Spring was in the air when a New Jersey homeowner found two black bears battling in his yard. Corey Bale tells NJ.com he went outside to investigate last week after a neighbor told him there was a bear behind his Frankford Township home. But when he stepped outside, he heard a commotion out front and that’s when he saw two bruins engaged in a fight. Bale videotaped the bears as he said he could hear their jaws hitting together as they wrestled. Chunks of hair covered in blood were left behind after they stopped tussling. Bale believes the bears were fighting over the third bear, a female in the backyard.

 

New Jersey gets official state microbe: Streptomyces griseus

Trenton, N.J. (AP) — A microorganism that played a role in treating tuberculosis is now officially recognized as New Jersey’s state microbe. Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill giving the distinction to Streptomyces (strep-toh-MY’-seez) griseus (GREE’-say-us). The microbe was discovered in New Jersey soil in 1916. In 1943, researchers from Rutgers University used the microbe to create the antibiotic streptomycin. Tuberculosis death rates in the U.S. plummeted. They fell from about 194 deaths per 100,000 people in 1900 to about 9 deaths per 100,000 people in 1955. Rutgers researcher Selman Waksman was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the microbe and creating the antibiotic.

 

Squirrel initially scares, then snuggles with subway riders

Boston (AP) — A surprise passenger hitched a ride on a Boston commuter trolley, frightening some people at first, but warming their hearts when it willingly snuggled in a human passenger’s arms. Commuters say a squirrel bounded onto a Red Line trolley at an aboveground stop, prompting some passengers to hop onto their seats. Passenger Rosanne Foley, the executive director of the Boston Landmarks Commission, posted a Twitter photo of the squirrel resting on another person’s arm. She tells boston.com someone even tried to feed the rodent a piece of granola bar. The rodent rider was let off by passengers at another aboveground station. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority spokeswoman Lisa Battiston commended the kindness of passengers but warned against interacting with wild animals on a train.

(Rosanne Foley via AP)
(Rosanne Foley via AP)

Woman escapes with cat from car that plunged into river

Blackstone, Mass. (AP) — A woman was able to save herself and her cat after the car they were riding in plunged into a Massachusetts river. Blackstone Fire Chief Michael Sweeney says the woman had just picked up her cat from the groomer when she crashed the car into the Blackstone River. Sweeney says the woman grabbed the cat and climbed out the window before the car sank into the water. The cat was in a pet carrier. The woman in her 60s was taken to the hospital to be treated for cuts on her hand. Both the woman and the cat were expected to be OK. Sweeney tells WCVB-TV that the woman is a “spunky lady.” He says “to be able to do what she did and get out of that car, she was amazing.”