The giant hogweed is hard to miss. The monstrous plant towers up to 15 feet tall, with a crown of white flowers the size of an umbrella. They burst into bloom between the last week of June and the first week of July—just in time to be the perfect dramatic backdrop to red-white-and-blue-themed parties.
But whatever you do, don’t touch it. The giant hogweed’s toxic sap could give you third-degree burns if you don’t get out of the sun and wash it off immediately. Like an anti-sunblock, chemicals in its juices disrupt your skin’s ability to filter out harmful UV rays. Get it in your eyes and you could go blind.
In places where hogweed has been around for decades, residents know its risks well. But while the majestic flower of the hogweed adds a courtly presence to any landscape, it is an invasive species—producing up to 120,000 winged seeds at a time. In the mid-1900s it expanded across New York state, carried on the riverways it likes to grow near. It hopped into nearby Pennsylvania, Ontario, and then on into Michigan. About 15 years ago it invaded Ohio. Today it’s found sporadically in more than a dozen states—and it’s still spreading, putting more people in harm’s way.
A reclusive Texas man last seen alive by his family in April was eaten by his own dogs — a large pack of aggressive vicious canines that left behind just five bone fragments of their owner, authorities said Wednesday.
Relatives of Freddie Mack, 57, told the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in early May that they had not heard from him since April 19, saying that his 18 medium and large dogs of mixed breeds prevented them from searching his property near Venus.
Deputies later returned to Mack’s residence and found a small piece of bone after earlier searches — including one involving a drone — did not show up any sign of Mack, who lived alone, according to Johnson County Sheriff Adam King.
Deputies then found more bone fragments and other pieces of evidence during subsequent searches, including animal feces containing suspected human hair and clothing that matched the only set of clothing Mack was known to wear.
One morning we heard impala alarm calling close to the river, which signalled a predator in the area, and our first instinct was to suspect that it was a leopard or a lion. However, when we reached the area, we noticed that these impala were staring at the ground. It was then that we noticed a small impala lamb lying motionless. Wrapped around its fragile body was an African rock python that was at least four metres in length.
A few minutes later the herd moved away leaving the snake with her prize, but we watched fascinated as she continued to squeeze despite the lack of life left in the poor lamb’s body.
The mother impala returned and came close to her baby’s body, distraught and calling in alarm. When the snake was confident that the lamb was dead, it released its grip. It then locked its jaws around the lamb’s nose and efficiently moved it into the undergrowth out of our sight.
FOR many residents, a family feast is a Christmas tradition that leaves everyone feeling the effects for days after.
However, residents weren’t the only ones nursing their full bellies this Christmas, as the Darling Downs Snake Catchers removed a 3-metre-long python who had enjoyed its very own festive feast from a Mount Lofty Toowoomba Qld home.
Snake catcher Gunter Glaser said the owner had been out to check on her pet chickens when she made the discovery.
A quintessentially Australian photo which could only have come from WA’s Kimberley has gone viral, as social media across the world marvelled at a python playing pick-up to a bunch of amorous cane toads.
Helicopter pilot Paul Mock snapped the photo of the olive python — named Monty, of course — onboard was a contingent of cane toads on its back in the wake of an inundation of 68mm rain at his Kununurra WA property on Monday.
Mr Mock doesn’t have social media but decided to send the picture on to his brother Andrew, who quickly uploaded it to Twitter where it caused a storm.
In the 21st century, globalisation has brought the planet’s disparate populations and cultures closer than ever before, but there are still places — and people — who remain largely untouched by the outside world.
For all its raw beauty, nature can be pretty scary too. One minute you’re chomping a beautifully juicy green apple from a tropical branch, and the next your throat is rapidly closing up in a mad dash to the ER. Take the manchineel tree, for example. Sure, it’s nice to look at. But with a nickname like “tree of death,” don’t expect an entirely wonderful experience.
Danger! Watch out for yourself
The machineel is the most dangerous tree in the world. But just by looking, you would never know it. The tree is a beachy, tropical plant that generally looks like any other, save for its abundance of shiny green fruits. It’s native to Central America, the Caribbean, northern parts of South America, and tropical regions of North America, including South Florida.
By now you know not to be fooled by nature’s wonders, right? The Cerbera odollam, for instance, is a perfectly beautiful, lush green tree. But, oh no. This unassuming plant isn’t called the “suicide tree” for nothing. It can accurately also be called the “murder tree,” too. Whatever you want to call it, just keep your distance.
Lethal Weapon Seed
The Cerbera odollam is a medium-sized hardwood tree, endemic to India and southeast Asia, that can grow up to 32 feet (10 meters) tall. Nothing remarkable there. It’s not like this tree is trying to kill you, but it can. Pretty easily too, no thanks to the excessively toxic chemical cerberin in its seeds.