x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Nurse's diet of sponge is far from a piece of cake

Why a dental nurse lives on a diet of soap and kitchen sponges heads our weekly round up of the odder side of the news

A rare disorder means that a dental nurse from England has been living on a diet of household sponges and bars of soap.

Kerry Trebilcock suffers from pica, a disorder believed to be caused by a chemical unbalance that causes craving for substances that are not food.

Miss Trebilcock, 21, estimates that she has eaten about 4,000 sponges, which she washes down with hot sauce or dips in hot drinks. She also claims to have devoured at least 100 bars of soap, although only if they are organic and fruit flavoured.

She told The Sun newspaper: "One day I will beat this and be able to have a shower or do the washing-up without feeling hungry."


Lobster's escape claws

A massive lobster the size of a small child and with claws that can snap bone has been caught off the east coast of America.

Dubbed "Rocky", the 12.25 kilogram male crustacean is believed to be one of the biggest captured in the Atlantic.

At one metre long, Rocky is the size of a three-year-old child, and "would break your arm", according to Elaine Jones, the education director for the Department of Marine Resources in Maine.

Rocky has been released back into the ocean, but has a way to grow before beating the current world record holder, a 20kg lobster caught in 1977.


Like a rolling stone

Moving at a speed of about 8kph, a 340-tonne granite boulder is heading towards Los Angeles.

The two-storey-high rock is an installation called Levitated Mass and has been given to the Museum of Art by the artist Michael Heizer.

It is being transported to the city on a special 44-axle trailer built to lift 454,000kg and will be put in the museum's grounds.

It has taken six months to get permission to move the rock through dozens of communities along the 169-kilometre route. A museum spokesman compared the operation with the construction of the Pyramids, except "the Egyptians didn't have rubber wheels and diesel trucks".


Black magic dogs villagers

Terrified villagers in Namibia claim that they are being attacked by a monster with the head of a pig and the body of a dog.

They say the creature has been attacking domestic animals near the Kalahari Desert.

According to an official: "This is an alien animal that the people have not seen before. We don't have a forest here and only bushes. This must be black magic at play."


Apes open apps

Bored apes are being given iPads to make life in captivity more interesting.

"Apps for Apes" is an initiative by Orang-utan Outreach, a charity dedicated to preserving the endangered primates.

The first iPads were given to three orang-utans at Milwaukee Zoo, with the apes said to enjoy using the tablet devices to paint.

Orang-utans in Toronto are the next on the list, with researchers hoping that eventually the animals will be able to use apps to communicate with each other.