x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Grilled lizard is one recipe for a population boom

Plus more of the strangest and unbelievable stories of the week in News You Can Lose.

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is to start exporting lizard meat as a way of reducing an iguana population explosion.

Although iguanas are not native to the island, their numbers have grown to about four million - more than the human population of Puerto Rico.

Iguana meat is popular among some Latin American communities and the authorities believe it could fetch more than US$13 (Dh48) a kilo, or "a lot more than chicken", as one official put it.

The island's first wild iguanas were pets set free by their owners in the 1970s. Growing up to 1.8 metres, they have no natural predators on the island and have been blamed for digging up airport runways, destroying crops and causing electricity blackouts.

 

Catch me if you can

An undercover police constable spent 20 minutes chasing himself after the operator of a surveillance camera mistook him for a suspect.

The officer had received a radio message alerting him to a man acting suspiciously on the streets of a small town in Sussex, England.

Not realising the camera had picked him up, the officer set off in pursuit, telling a colleague he was "hot on his heels".

The "chase" only ended when another policeman came into the CCTV control room and recognised the officer on screen.

A leaked report of the incident noted that "with the sergeant's sides aching from laughter he pointed out to the PC that the operator had been watching him, unaware that he was a plain-clothes officer - thus the PC had been chasing himself round the streets".

 

Slaves to splashin'

A court in California is to decide if trained whales at a theme park are in fact being held as slaves.

Animal-rights activists are seeking to persuade the courts to give captive animals the same rights as people. The test case involves killer whales being kept at the SeaWorld amusement parks in San Diego and Orlando, Florida.

The activists claim that the five whales are "held in slavery and/or involuntary servitude by defendants in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution".

A lawyer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said: "Slavery does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on race, gender or ethnicity."

 

Older than Joan Rivers?

The oldest living thing on the planet has been discovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

After sequencing the DNA, Australian scientists say that a species of seagrass could be 100,000 years old.

The plant is capable of continuously cloning itself and grows in patches that are about 16 kilometres across and weigh 6,000 tonnes.

Previously a 43,000-year-old shrub in Tasmania was thought to be the world's oldest species.

 

A song for the big sleep

A song deliberately created to be the "most relaxing ever" comes with a health warning that it should not be listened to while driving.

Composed by Marconi Union from Manchester, England, the eight-minute track, called Weightless, is designed to produce sleep.

The trio of musicians worked with sound therapists to find harmonies and bass lines that would reduce brain activity.

In tests, the song was said to reduce anxiety by 65 per cent. One of the scientists involved said: "I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous."

jlangton@thenational.ae