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Raccoon triggers transformer explosion, major power outage

A town in New Mexico was left in the dark Wednesday night after a raccoon met a fiery fate with a power station transformer.Those who live near the facility in Rio Rancho told KOB they saw, heard and felt the transformer explosion. Residents reported seeing flames, sparks and a blinding light, along with feeling their houses shaking.>> Read more trending news 

Approximately 9,600 customers lost power, the Public Service Company of New Mexico told KOB.A PNM spokesperson told KOB the utility will evaluate whether it needs to add extra protection to the fenced area around the power station to prevent a recurrence of wildlife interference with equipment.

Owl turns routine oil change into real hoot

A mechanic in New Hampshire attempting to perform an oil change Friday found a surprise guest on the car's engine.An Eastern Screech owl was discovered on the engine, according to a Facebook post by the Salem, New Hampshire Police Department. >> Read more trending news 

Police said the owl was friendly and easy to handle, but did appear to be a bit lethargic. While the car owner told police they had no idea how the bird got in the car, it's believed the owl sought the car's engine for warmth, or perhaps while chasing a mouse.The owl, which police named Shazam, was taken to On the Wing, a wildlife rehabilitation center.

Toddler finds snake inside family's toilet

The owner of a 4-foot-long carpet snake might be in trouble after a family found it inside their toilet Friday.

>> Read more trending news

Buted Dashdemberel said her toddler discovered the snake inside their apartment on 143rd Street in Seattle's Lake City area. Dashdemberel had never before seen a snake in person. 

"I scream, called my husband and I said, ‘There's a real snake in there.’ He didn't believe me," she said. "I'm still thinking, ‘Is this real? Is it a dream or something?’"

The family had trouble getting in touch with rescue workers that could take the reptile because of the holiday weekend. They called apartment managers, who sent two employees to fish the snake out of the toilet after consulting with reptile experts. Carpet snakes are not known to be venomous. 

Dashdemberel showed KIRO7.com video of the rescue, which shows two employees struggling to pull the snake out of the toilet due to the snake's size.

"It's stuck down in the pipes," one of the employees says in the video. "I'm pulling it out the toilet and this thing is huge."

Another employee responds, "I can feel how much force you're using to try to get it out of the toilet."

In the video, the employees successfully get the snake out and place it in a large tub. 

Seattle police said the Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society would take the female carpet snake. 

Officials with the nonprofit rescue told KIRO7.com that they believe the snake might have been intentionally flushed down the toilet. The owner of the snake, who also lives at the apartment complex, has been located and might face consequences. The complex does not allow snakes as pets. Apartment employees said they believe the snake escaped. The incident remains under investigation.

Carpet snakes are fairly rare in Washington, according to the Herpetological Society -- almost as rare as finding a snake in your toilet during the holiday weekend. 

"I still cannot go back in the bathroom, and I'm really scared," Dashdemberel said. "But we saved his life! That's why I feel OK."

Ad selling 'used coffin' was joke, not everyone amused

An advertisement for a "slightly used coffin" raised eyebrows and the ire of some people.

The ad, posted Monday on a Facebook buy, sell and trade page, offered a "Slightly used coffin, only used once." The seller was asking $50 for the casket. A photo of a coffin with a discolored interior accompanied the ad. 

>> Read more trending news

The person who posted the ad told KRQE that it was just a joke to generate humorous comments. 

The ad did succeed in generating comments, such as, "That's a screaming deal," and "We have to URN your trust first," KRQE reported. 

But other people told KRQE they didn't find the ad to be funny and said it was in poor taste.

KRQE reported that in New Mexico, it's not illegal to sell a used coffin, as long as the buyer is informed of its prior usage.

Professor: Team has performed first successful human head transplant using cadavers

It sounds like something out of a horrible B movie, but a professor in Italy says a team has successfully transplanted a human head in China. It was done on corpses to see if surgeons could reconnect the spine, nerves and blood vessels. 

“The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done,” Sergio Canavero, the director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, said. “A full head swap between brain dead organ donors is the next stage,” the Telegraph reported.

He added that it would be the last step before a full head transplant happens some time before the end of the year, USA Today reported.

A firm date for the living patient surgery has not been released.

Canavero said the procedure happened in China because “the Americans did not understand” and wouldn’t fund the experiments, USA Today reported.

Experts in the medical community said that a procedure like this would not be allowed in either the United States or Europe.

While it’s being called a head transplant, it’s technically a body transplant, where the recipient with a functioning brain will have his head transplanted to a donor’s body who has been declared brain dead, USA Today reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Doctors will fuse the spinal cord and attach blood vessels and muscles then the patient will be kept in a coma for a month as the person heals, Newsweek reported. If it is successful, the patient could walk again, Canavero claims.

Many in the medical community said that not only is it doubtful the procedure will be successful, there also are ethical questions, saying that whoever undergoes the procedure will be in incredible pain, and not able to breathe or control their own heart rate, Newsweek reported.

Canavero cites studies on animals to support his plan, but other doctors say that, ‘You’re not going to jump from rodent to human” and that Canavero’s plan is “criminal,” Newsweek reported.

Man charged with driving lawn tractor while drunk

A man in Aurora, Illinois, was arrested and charged with driving a John Deere lawn tractor in the street while drunk, WGN reports.

Ruben Garza, 50, faces several charges, including two counts of driving under the influence, after driving the lawn tractor in the street near Fifth and Ashland around 3:40 p.m Friday, police said.

Police said a witness said the man appeared drunk, seemed to be falling asleep and stopped to urinate in a yard in the 400 block of Ashland. Once he got back on his tractor, he almost hit a parked vehicle and began yelling at people as he drove the tractor, police said.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said an officer caught up to Garza in the 1100 block of Lebanon and ordered him to turn off the tractor. While he was being questioned, the officer said he smelled alcohol on Garza's breath and said he was slurring his speech.

The officer said Garza became belligerent and did not believe could be charged with a DUI because he was riding a lawn tractor. Garza then began to swear at the officer and threatened him, police said.

Garza was then taken into custody and the tractor was impounded. Garza also was charged with having no registration and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. He is due in court Dec. 5.

>> See the Facebook post here

'Cheetah' spotted roaming streets in Pennsylvania turns out to be big African cat

Residents thought they saw a cheetah running free in the streets of Reading, Pennsylvania. But when authorities responded to the scene recently, they found a rare African serval cat instead.

>> Watch the news report here

The spotted feline was out for a walk when staffers from the Animal Rescue League of Berks County arrived.

The 1- or 2-year-old cat was docile, declawed and friendly, leading the rescuers to think she was a pet.

>> Read more trending news

It is illegal to own these types of cats in Pennsylvania without a license.

A big-cat group is now in possession of the animal.

Toddler slams into windshield after Florida woman chases boyfriend at 90 mph, deputies say

A woman in Pinellas County was arrested Sunday after a 3-year-old girl flew into the windshield of her car from slamming on the brakes in a 90 mph car chase, deputies said. 

>> Watch the news report here

Before the incident, Justine Olesky, 33, got into a physical fight with her boyfriend while the toddler stood next to her, WFTS reports. 

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: Florida couple had heroin, loaded gun in car with child

Once the boyfriend left, Olesky put the girl in the passenger seat of her car without a seat belt, and then chased after him going 90 mph in a residential neighborhood, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies. 

>> Read more trending news 

Olesky hit the brakes when she saw her boyfriend, causing the 35-pound child to eject forward and hit her head on the windshield, deputies said. Deputies said the girl hit her head so hard it shattered part of the windshield, leaving blonde strands of hair in the glass, WFTS reports. 

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: VIDEO: Florida women violently beat driver unconscious in road rage incident

When deputies arrived to the scene, they said Olesky did not seem concerned about the child and “continued to talk about her boyfriend,” WFTS reports. 

The child was taken to a local hospital and fortunately did not suffer serious injuries, deputies said. 

Olesky faces charges of child abuse and domestic battery. She is being held at the Pinellas County Jail on a $12,500 bond, according to jail records. 

Read more here.

Python found hidden in man's pants after drunken argument, police say

Police in the southwestern German city of Darmstadt got the shock of their lives when they discovered a python in the pants of a 19-year-old man they had just arrested after a drunken argument, The Guardian reports.

The man was reportedly detained after local residents complained about the loud argument he was having with another man. While searching him, officers noticed a “significant bulge in his trousers,” according to a police statement.

>> On Rare.us: An escaped lynx is blamed for the deaths of 7 sheep near where she went missing

The man then confessed to the officers that he had been concealing a live snake in his pants, and proceeded to reveal a 14-inch royal python — also known as a ball python, authorities said.

He was placed in a cell to sober up and the snake was put in a box. Police said they were trying to track down the python’s owner and examining whether “the non-species-appropriate transport” contravened animal protection regulations. It added that officers were investigating whether any animal protection laws had been broken.

>> Read more trending news 

The ball python is one of 26 python species. They typically inhabits dry grasslands when in the wild, according to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Their diet largely consists of small rodents, and they tend to live about 20 to 25 years in captivity.

WATCH: Deer breaks into house, leaves behind mess

A North Carolina woman was startled early Friday by a four-legged intruder that appeared equally frightened.

 

>> Read more trending news

 

Amanda McNeil was awakened by her security alarm at about 4 a.m., WFMY reported. When she went to investigate, she found her house in shambles — and a deer.McNeil said the deer entered the house through a bedroom window and was injured in the incident. She managed to get the deer out of her house. Surveillance video captured part of the chaotic scene.

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