SOMERSET, Wis., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A little ol' bug did what no big ol' tackle couldn't: Stop Somerset (Wis.) High School fullback Jake Asp in his tracks by settling painfully in his ear.
Asp was a scoring machine during a recent football game, rushing for 362 yards and scoring five touchdowns. But the day after the game, a beetle nestled in his ear and could have sidelined him, ABC News said.
Asp awoke from a nap, his right ear in pain, the network reported. When it worsened, his family took Asp to a neighborhood clinic. At first family members thought he something happened during the game. But the doctors discovered a beetle was causing the pain, ABC News said.
"It was digging and biting into my eardrum," the high school senior said.
The clinic staff couldn't extract it. The pain intensified and Asp's ear became bloody, ABC said. He was taken to a hospital in Minnesota's Twin Cites, about 70 miles away, where he underwent minor surgery to remove the insect.
Asp didn't miss practice, ABC said, but he could have if the beetle damaged his eardrum or altered his sense of balance.
Idaho couple living in a snake den
ST. ANTHONY, Idaho, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- An Idaho couple discovered they are sharing their new home with garter snakes -- lots of garter snakes.
Lyman Hepworth told KIFI-TV, Boise, he bought the house in St. Anthony in March. At that time, the snakes were peacefully hibernating in the basement, and the couple did not know they were there.
A few weeks later, the snakes woke up and began heading out for the summer. Hepworth said he killed about 50 a day until he found out that garter snakes are legally protected in Idaho.
Garter snakes are completely harmless. But the Hepworths say they are just too close for comfort -- like the time he turned on a light in the basement and discovered a 4-foot snake hanging next to the cord.
"The house is inundated with them," he said.
Experts say that the snakes may have turned the basement into a den during the eight years no one lived in the house.
The previous owner has offered to buy the house back. But the Hepworths have hopes of getting rid of the snakes. They even sent a video to ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to get some expert help.
Storeowner swings, connects with robber
MANCHESTER, N.H., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A Manchester, N.H., store owner's impromptu at-bat counted when he stopped a knife-wielding robbery suspect with a swing of a bat.
Richard "Yogi" Cote and the customer were visiting when the alleged thief held a knife at the customer's throat and demanded money, the Manchester (N.H) Union Leader said. Cote picked up his Louisville Slugger and swung away -- connecting twice with the suspect's head.
Police said charges would be filed against Christopher Johns, 36, Manchester, the newspaper said. Police said witnesses identified Johns as the suspect in the robbery attempt at Cote's store, the paper said.
Johns was arrested and arraigned in Manchester District Court on an armed robbery charge for a separate incident, the newspaper said.
Cote said he got his nickname as a child because his swing resembled that of Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, the paper said.
'Enriched' sea lion learns to paint
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- An 11-year-old California sea lion at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has taken up painting for a hobby after taking three months to learn how to use the brush.
Trainer Kesha Phares started working with Maggie and her half-sister Zoey last year on the feat, although Zoey tired of it while Maggie became proficient enough to start painting after three months.
"It's, in a way, enriching," Phares told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Sea lions are very smart animals, and painting keeps their minds active."
Phares said Maggie is color blind, so she chooses the color schemes, and each time Maggie completes a series of strokes, she is rewarded with a fish.
Her initial works were a series of dots, but have advanced to sweeping slashes, and for some reason, most of the color goes to the right side of the paper attached to a custom-made easel, the newspaper.
Phares said she has saved all of Maggie's works and one day may start selling them to fund further animal enrichment.
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