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10 of the weirdest news headlines of 2020

It’s safe to say that there’s some pretty weird stuff that goes on around the world, and it does not go unnoticed. Some truly shocking stories make news headlines, and we’ve gathered the 10 weirdest just for you:

An alligator on helium

Unsurprisingly, the large toothed water based crawler did not sound like Minnie Mouse. The scientists behind the bizarre curiosity won the Ig Nobel Prize on 17 Sept 2020, which is a satiric prize awarded annually (since 1991) that celebrates unusual or trivial achievements within scientific research. Its aim is to “honour achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” For the context of this brilliant prize, a live frog was magnetically levitated in 2002.

We definitely need more humour in the world right now, but a crocodile on helium? One of the biologists behind the research, Tecumseh Fitch, explained to Reuters that the team solved the balloon versus giant alligator teeth problem by leading the animal into an airtight chamber where helium was pumped into. The result was less of a squeak, and more of a belch.

Three year old girl goes on a terrifying kite ride

If you’ve ever watched Mary Poppins and wished, like I did, you could lift off into the air with an umbrella, or a kite, well, it actually isn’t all that impossible. A three year old girl got tangled up in the tail of a giant kite during a kite festival in Taiwan on 30 Aug 2020, she thankfully survived a 30 meter flight in the sky unscathed bar a few minor scratches. Bet that’ll make you think next time you wish upon an umbrella ride.

Do it like they do on the Discovery Channel (or not)

Not every mammal likes to be filmed while doing the dirty, or even watched for that matter. Due to COVID-19 this year, zoos have been shut all over the globe, leaving the animals inside stagefright-less. One zoo in particular thrived romantically, without prying eyes, a baby boom arrived. Three times more animal babies than usual in fact, maybe we should draw the curtains a little more often, huh?

If only we could feed someone a sense of humour

In Hanoi, we can. ‘The coronaburger’ was created by chef Hoang Tung, whose life motto is ‘You’ve got to eat it to beat it’. Tung told Reuters that “We have this joke that if you are scared of something, you should eat it.” The green tea stained burger buns not only look tasty, but also proved to be a huge success. Joy was, and is still, exactly what people need in times like these.

Doggie dance-off

Spotify has made playlists and podcasts for dogs to listen to when their people are away, after finding out that nearly 74 per cent of pet owners in the UK play music for their animals. The playlists are made up of messages of affirmation and reassurance narrated by actors, and we all know how nice it feels to be told how good a job you’re doing. And if the owners are there, a good old slow dance with the animal that sees through all your faults, never fails to lighten the mood either.

Hard to believe, but a snake cannot be used as a facemask

A man was seen in Manchester with a snake wrapped around his mouth and neck, which apparently was his own way of following the government’s advice of wearing a face covering against COVID-19. According to Sky News, a passenger reported seeing the man and his mask, thinking it was ‘funky’, to soon realise it was actually alive. The passenger told reporters that “no one batted an eyelid” and we aren’t surprised, because fashion, right?

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Cat becomes the first animal to test positive for COVID-19 in the UK

A pet cat has become the first animal to test positive for coronavirus in the UK. The feline was tested at a laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey, last week on 22 July. Evidence suggests it contracted the coronavirus from its owners who had tested positive for COVID-19 previously. Both the animal and the family have since made a full recovery.

Can pets transmit coronavirus to other pets?

According to the UK government’s statement, there is “no evidence” the cat transmitted coronavirus to its owners and that this should not be a cause for alarm. Speaking to Sky News, chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss explained it was a “very rare event” and that infected animals detected so far only show “mild clinical signs and recover within a few days.”

Can pets transmit coronavirus to humans?

Cats with coronavirus have been found in other countries such as Belgium and China. Following recent reports of a pet cat in Belgium being infected with COVID-19 in April, a team at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China found that cats are highly susceptible to the virus and are able to transmit it to other cats through respiratory droplets. Dogs, chickens, pigs and ducks were found to be unlikely to catch the infection, however. While the findings were credible, they did not indicate cats were an important vector in spreading the disease between humans.

Although it has not been proved that any domestic pets are able to transmit COVID-19 to humans, general advice on fighting coronavirus should be followed with animals. So remember to wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with pets.