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World briefs

Largest python ever caught

The largest Burmese python ever found in Florida has been caught in the Everglades, scientists said yesterday, and it contained 87 eggs – also thought to be a record.

“This thing is monstrous, it’s about a foot wide,” Kenneth Krysko, the herpetology collection manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said of the 5.35-metre reptile.

Scientists at the University of Florida-based museum examined the 74.5-kilogramme snake on Friday as part of a government research project into managing the pervasive effect of Burmese pythons in Florida.

The giant snakes – native to southeast Asia and first found in the Everglades in 1979 — prey on native birds, deer, bobcats, all­igators and other large animals.

Following scientific investigation, the snake will be mounted for exhibition at the museum and then returned to be put on display at Everglades National Park.

Rescued after week in glacier

Austrian mountain rescuers yesterday extracted a 70-year-old German man claiming to have been stuck for around a week in a glacier crevasse, police said, saying it was incredible that he was still alive.

The climber, who has not been named, was only slightly injured after his ordeal, although he was very cold and exhausted. He was airlifted to hospital in Innsbruck, western Austria, by helicopter.

He told rescuers he had set off without crampons around a week ago and that around 3,000 metres up he slid into the 20-metre crevasse. Other mountaineers were eventually alerted by his cries and called in rescuers.

“It is a sensation that he survived there for a week,” police said. “He was very lucky.”

Kangaroo outfoxes pursuers

Authorities in Germany were hunting high and low yesterday for a kangaroo that escaped from his animal park with the unwitting help of a fox and a wild boar, a zoo official said.

Three kangaroos named Skippy, Jack and Mick bounded through a hole in the fence of their enclosure made by a helpful fox on Saturday night , Michael Hoffmann, deputy head of the animal park near Frankfurt, told AFP.

One unadventurously stayed within the park grounds and found itself swiftly recaptured.

The other two scrabbled to freedom through a hole dug by a wild boar under the park’s exterior barriers.

Vets snared one of the refugee pair after a long chase, Hoffmann said, but the third had proved harder to track down.

The adventurous animal is no danger to the public, stressed Mr Hoffmann.

“He’s super friendly, super nice. Absolutely no danger at all.”

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