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Sept. 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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'Nasty' 11-foot python captured in Fla.

KEY LARGO, Fla., Sept. 3 (UPI) -- An 11-foot python spotted crossing a Florida highway was captured by state officials.

Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Bryan Cross said he saw the big snake around 11 p.m. Friday as it slithered over the Overseas Highway near the 105 mile marker, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

The deputy followed the reptile into a woods and called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FWC Officer Robert Dube told the newspaper officers were able to find and wrestle the python into captivity, but it wasn't easy.

"This one was particularly nasty," Dube told the newspaper, adding it snapped at the officers as they captured it. "It was nobody's pet."

The report said snake will be killed and a necropsy will see what it had been eating.

Dog travels 500 miles trying to get home

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A North Carolina dog, left at a farm in Virginia, traveled more than 500 miles on its own to try to make it home, his owner said.

Mark Wessells had taken his black Labrador to visit his father at a farm in Winchester, Va., thinking to leave Buck there while he was in the process of moving, The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News reported. Wessells said he couldn't take care of the dog temporarily.

"I wanted him to be up in Virginia where my dad has all this other property and he would've been happy," he told the newspaper. But a week later, Wessels' father called to say Buck was gone.

"We thought somebody stole him because that was the only thing we could think of," Wessells said. "For the longest time, my dad and brother had been keeping an eye out for him, but never saw him."

About six months later Brett Gallagher found Buck in Bellegrove, a Carolina Forest, S.C., subdivision, about two weeks ago, not far from Myrtle Beach. When he got a chance he took the dog to an animal hospital where Buck's microchip identifying the dog and his owner was found.

"The nurse came back and said, 'Are you Buck?' and he got so excited," Gallagher told the newspaper. "It must have been the first time he heard his name since he left."

The newspaper said when Buck and Wessells were reunited at the hospital, the dog showered him with kisses.

Calif. tree may be largest U.S. oak

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- California researchers say they have found and measured the largest canyon live oak in existence, which is probably also the largest U.S. oak of any species.

The California Wildlands Conservancy members trekked up the wilderness above Yucaipa in the San Bernardino Mountains recently, the Los Angeles Times reported. The seven naturalists, armed with cameras, measuring tape and lasers, took precise measurements.

"Hell of a tree," the Times said Geena Burgess whispered.

Certification by the non-profit American Forests organization's National Big Tree Program as the country's top "champion" oak takes three measurements: trunk circumference in inches; height in feet and average crown spread in feet. Total points are determined through this calculation: circumference plus height plus 1/4 the average crown spread, the Times said.

The team's first measurements gave the Yucaipa oak, towering over U.S. Forest Service land, 621 points, a possible record.

"We're here today in hopes of picking up a few more points with new measurements taken with better instruments," David Myers, executive director of the Wildlands Conservancy, told the newspaper. "There's a good chance our oak blows away all competitors."

The team said the oak is 499 inches in circumference, 97 feet high and 98 feet in average crown spread.

An oak in Louisiana tallied 570 points and one in Mendocino County once garnered 628 points before being reduced to 520 point after new measurements.

Couple wed via Twitter in Turkey

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- An official in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday officiated an Internet-based wedding believed to be the first ceremony conducted via Twitter.

Mustafa Kara, mayor of Istanbul's Uskudar district, conducted the wedding between Cengizhan Celik, social media editor of news portal, and Candan Canik by asking the couple to respond to the ceremony's questions on Twitter, Today's Zaman reported Monday.

Hurriyet Daily News reported the couple's witnesses also conducted their roles via Twitter.

The online ceremony culminated in Kara handing the couple a marriage certificate in person.

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