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Nov. 8, 2010 at 6:30 AM   |   0 comments

Canadian couple find two pythons in home

TORONTO, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A Canadian couple say they found two Royal Pythons in their home within 30 days.

Janet Wilkinson and her husband Chris Forde found a python inside their washing machine Saturday, and two weeks ago discovered a python living in their floorboards, the Toronto Star reported.

"Lightning only strikes in the same place once," Wilkinson said Saturday. "But last night it struck again -- and it is probably going to strike three or four more times."

The couple's snake saga began when they ripped out a toilet in their main floor washroom for renovations. While the floor was open, a snake poked its head out of the opening, then disappeared.

"This head just popped out," Forde said of the python peeking through a gap in the floorboards. Despite tearing out his basement ceiling, and setting traps with dead mice and hot water bottles, the snake didn't return at first.

Then on Friday they found the 3-foot-long snake they called Monty sitting in front of a refrigerator in their basement and took it to a local pet store.

Snake expert Tom Mason said the Royal Python hails from West Africa, and is one of the most popular snakes in the pet trade. They are harmless to humans as long as they are less than 12 feet long.

Mason said a python can travel "quite a ways" when it escapes from an owner, which apparently happens with some frequency.

"Snakes are escape artists," Mason said.

The couple took the second snake, which they called Montegue, to the Tails pet store, where they had already taken Monty.


Printers take skill out of counterfeiting

DETROIT, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Funny money is turning up in record amounts now that computers and high-tech printers have taken the skill out of counterfeiting, the U.S. Secret Service says.

The agency said that in 2009 more than 60 percent of counterfeit bills were created on digital printers. In 1995 only 1 percent were.

"There really is no craftsmanship or workmanship in this anymore," Special Agent Scott Vogel, a 20-year veteran, told the Detroit Free Press. "If you're able to put a piece of paper in a copy machine and push a button, that's pretty much all it takes."

In the old days, investigators could identify specific counterfeiters by their style, often long before they were detected. One of the most celebrated examples was "Old Mr. 880," a nickname that came from the file number and the length of time he escaped detection, who got away with making crude $1 bills for years because no one looked at them closely.

In 2009 the Secret Service removed $182 million in counterfeit bills from circulation. That was more than twice the $79 million discovered in the previous year.


Terrier survives alligator attack

TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- A Jack Russell terrier may have survived an encounter with an alligator in a Florida river because her quick-thinking owner performed CPR.

Tom Martino said he was taking the dog, named Lizabeth after Fred Sanford's wife in "Sanford and Son," for a walk last Saturday when an alligator lurking in the Hillsborough River near Tampa grabbed her, The Tampa Tribune reported. Martino said he used his licensed handgun to shoot into the water, apparently encouraging the alligator to release the dog.

Martino, for the first time in his life, performed canine CPR.

"She coughed up a bunch of water," Martino said. "I was scared. That's my little baby."

The dog was reported to be in critical but stable condition at Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa. Dr. Miryam Reems, one of the vets there, said the dog suffered bite injuries and lung damage from the underwater wrestling match and would probably have died if Martino hadn't done the CPR.

The alligator, measuring 6 feet, 4 inches, was trapped later that day and removed from the area.


Bad-luck address changes surge in Ontario

MARKHAM, Ontario, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- City Hall officials in a Toronto suburb say they want to pull the plug on a growing stream of requests to change street addresses to luckier numbers.

It all began this spring when a real estate agent requested a home at No. 4 Dancer Drive in Markham, Ontario, be changed to No. 2 in order to appeal to buyers in the largely Asian neighborhood who see four as bad luck.

The National Post said Saturday the idea has caught on with more sellers following suit with their properties.

"We have to find ways to show leadership and find ways to get beyond these things," said Deputy Mayor Jack Heath.

According to Chinese folklore, the word for "four" sounds an awful lot like the word for "death," which may make some Chinese buyers leery of moving in. Some Realtors told the Post that a "four" address can translate to price cuts of as much as $30,000.

But Heath would still like to put the kibosh on requests for lucky number address changes. He said different cultures have different lucky numbers, which could lead to even more address changes.

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