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Virus transforms caterpillars into exploding zombies

A wildlife expert stumbled upon a strange sight while he was counting butterflies at a nature preserve in England recently, the CBC reported.

Chris Miller found it odd that an oak eggar moth caterpillar was at the top of a bush, because typically they wait until after dark to crawl to high spots so they can avoid predators such as birds. As Miller took a closer look, he realized that it wasn't a living caterpillar, but the exploded remains of one.

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The caterpillar was suffering the effects of the baculovirus, which hijacks a caterpillar's brain, according to the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside. After the caterpillar crawls to a high spot and dies, the body liquefies and explodes, infecting other caterpillars below it.

Birds can also pick up the caterpillar corpses and carry them to new locations, spreading the virus. However, scientists aren't too concerned about the baculovirus wiping out the oak eggar moth caterpillar population, as the virus usually dies out on its own, the CBC reported.

Man finds bizarre bug that appears part spider, part scorpion

A man was surprised to find what appeared to be a mix between a spider and a scorpion at his home in Queen Creek, Arizona.

Thomas Acosta came face to face with the creature, known as the camel spider, wind scorpion or sun spider, according to KNXV.

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Despite its appearance, the creature is neither a spider nor a scorpion, although they are related.

“I didn't know they are native to Arizona,” Acosta told KNXV. “I have seen camel spiders, but I heard of them in Iraq.”

The camel spider is non-venomous, but can grow big enough to eat small rodents, birds, lizards and insects.

Acosta told KNXV that he’s calling an exterminator.

Here's the story behind guy carrying peacock on NYC subway

A photo of a man carrying a peacock on a New York City subway went viral on Twitter this week.

Twitter user posted the unusual image on Thursday. Fellow riders did not seem to be alarmed by the animal being held by a man in the middle of the subway car.

>> Read more trending news

Curious web sleuths turned to Reddit for the full story. A Reddit user named BarFreddys claimed to be the man in the photo. He said the peacock is stuffed and a mascot of a bar that he manages called Weather Up. For confirmation, BarFreddys posted an image of himself with the peacock on Reddit, with the caption, "MTA Peacock guy here, stay classy New York."

4-foot-long Nile monitor lizard living in family's Florida attic

A Florida family discovered a 4-foot monitor lizard living in their attic earlier this week.

“The thing was huge! I thought I saw a ghost or something,” Danny To, of Cape Coral, told WFTX.

>> Read more trending news

To told the news station that he heard scratching on the roof for about nine months. His neighbor was the first to spot the large, invasive, semi-aquatic lizard and quickly told To.

Nile monitor lizards can grow up to 5 feet and weigh 15 pounds. They like to munch on small animals, fish and eggs.

This job, To surmised, would be much harder than setting up a few traps, so he sought help from a professional.

Ned Bruha, of the Wildlife Whisperer, checked out the home and found scratch marks on the roof, a hole and bird feathers in the attic, WFTX reported. Birds don’t naturally go in the attic, Bruha added.

He planned to patch the hole, set up cameras and hope for the best.

"This has been going on for approximately nine months, so we have no idea if there's one or 21 that call this home," Bruha told WFTX.

Read more at WFTX or at Florida Fish and Wildlife

Neighbors' spat over bamboo, Jimmy Buffett reaches appeals court

You’ve heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Meet the Hayes and Carrigans of Indian Hill, Ohio.

Jeffrey Hayes, who lives on 4.7 acres in the wealthy Cincinnati neighborhood, took his next door neighbor Pamela Carrigan to court. Hayes said Carrigan applied a toxic herbicide to his bamboo.

Carrigan, who lives on 5.2 acres, had her own beef with Hayes: She says he plays Jimmy Buffett’s music too loudly and mows his lawn too early in the morning. On top of that, Carrigan alleged in a countersuit, the bamboo was an invasive nuisance.

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The local police and courts got involved in the bamboo fight. In 2016, the trial court decided that each party had committed trespassing, ordered each to pay $11,000, and dismissed their other claims.

That wasn’t good enough for Hayes or Carrigan. They each appealed the decision to the First District Court of Appeals.

First District Judge Dennis Deters wrote in an opinion that Carrigan had not proven trespass and Hayes failed to substantiate his claim for damages.

While mowers droning at 7:30 a.m. and listening to “Margaritaville” on repeat might be annoying, the appeals court decided it didn’t rise to “physical discomfort” and “real, material and substantial” damages.

Troopers: Naked man arrested after chasing seagulls on beach

Police arrested a 22-year-old man Sunday after several people reported that he was naked and chasing seagulls on a popular beach in northern Michigan, according to multiple reports.

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The Ann Arbor resident, whose name was not released pending his arraignment, was spotted around 3 p.m. Sunday at Petoskey State Park, the Petoskey Review-News reported.

In a news release obtained by the newspaper, state troopers said witnesses reported that the nude man chased seagulls on the public beach before running to a parking lot and “dove” into it as though he were diving into water.

Troopers said the man might have taken LSD before authorities were called.

The man screamed at and threatened a trooper who tried to arrest him, WWTV reported, but he eventually calmed down and authorities apprehended him. Officials took him to a hospital for treatment of the injuries he suffered when he jumped into the parking lot, according to WWTV.

Troopers arrested the man on multiple charges, including indecent exposure and obscene conduct. Authorities said he might face additional charges, pending the results of a blood analysis, according to the News-Review.

Snake knocks out power for 22,000 customers in Florida

Florida's Jacksonville Electric Authority is working on changes to keep critters from knocking out residents' power.

>> Watch the news report here

A snake is being blamed for a major outage in Orange Park that left 22,000 customers in the dark.

JEA officials said the snake came into contact with a high voltage circuit breaker.

A wildlife trapper said it was a red rat snake.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

“This time of year the snakes are really bad,” neighbor Cynthia Surrency said.

>> See the photo here

This is not the first time a snake has caused an outage.

In July 2014, a snake got into a transformer and caused a brief power outage at the St Johns Town Center.

Then in September 2015, a snake crawled into a transformer in Clay Electric’s Double Branch substation and caused an outage that left 5,000 customers in the dark for an hour.

Two weeks later, another snake caused a power outage that affected thousands of customers in the northern part of Clay County.

>> Read more trending news

Action News Jax asked JEA if anything is being done to prevent this from happening again.

Officials said animal guards and fiberglass brackets are being installed on distribution lines to help prevent contact between animals and energized equipment.

They also say the company is also working to prevent bird nests in substations because eggs attract hungry snakes.

JEA said on average, animals cause one outage once every two or three years inside a substation.

Park ranger: Crab flips over, shows face of Jesus

A park ranger was crabbing near Whidbey Island in Washington state when something she caught made her do a double take.

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“We dropped several crab pots but didn't have any keepers until this pot was pulled up,” Regis Swanson told KIRO-TV. “The crab was crawling up the cage and flipped over showing her belly when I noticed the Jesus face!”

>> See the photo here

Swanson, a park ranger in Snohomish County, was out with a French exchange student. She was showing off the northwest activities and scenery when she caught the crab.

She took a photo before throwing it back into the water. 

WATCH: Florida man shoots AT&T work trucks parked in front of his home, police say

A Florida man angry about the AT&T work trucks parked in front of his home took matters into his own hands and opened fire on the vehicles' tires and engines, police said.

>> Watch the news report here

According to WFOR, Jorge Jove, 64, confronted the workers outside his Hialeah home about 11 a.m. Wednesday, police said.

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"AT&T bucket trucks were working on some overhead phone lines on utility poles,” said Hialeah police Sgt. Carl Zogby. "The owner of the house came out. He was upset the trucks were parked in front of his house, asked them to move. They said, 'We'll move in a few minutes, we’re just working on the poles. We’re supposed to be here.'"

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Police said that's when Jove, a former Miami-Dade firefighter, went back inside, got a gun and began shooting at the trucks, according to WSVN.

The shocking moment was captured on cellphone video as one of the AT&T employees called 911.

"There's a guy shooting out my tires!" the worker says in the clip as a man – presumably Jove – is shown approaching and shooting at the vehicles, the Miami Herald reported.

>> Click here to watch

Police said Jove fired 18 or more shots, WSVN reported. No one was hurt in the incident.

Jove was arrested and faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and felony vandalism, WFOR reported.

Read more here or here.

Frozen Italian sausages fall from sky onto Florida family's home

In something out of a scene from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a South Florida family awoke to frozen Italian sausage on their roof.

The Adair family, of Deerfield Beach, woke up Saturday morning to the loud thud of several packages of frozen Italian sausage banging against the roof, according to WPLG.

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"It was like thunder, and it awakened me out of a sleep," Travis Adair told WPLG.

After finding two packages of the meat in their yard, the family checked their roof and found three more packages. In total, 15 pounds of sausage somehow ended up striking their home.

The packages were marked William Land Service, a land-clearing company from Alabama, according to WPLG.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

"I called them and the guy had no idea what I was talking about and probably thought I was crazy," Travis’ son Austin Adair told WPLG.

Baffled by the discovery, the family thinks the meat drop was either connected to a drug deal or fell from a plane. 

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