Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Ronald Saracino
Ronald Saracino / Ronald Saracino


Ronald Saracino of Cape Coral, Florida, could hardly believe his eyes when he saw an alligator sleeping in a tree, so he took a picture. Gators have been seen climbing fences, and crocodiles are known to climb trees, but an alligator? Florida Fish and Wildlife officials have confirmed that the creature in the photograph is indeed, an alligator. This gator is relatively small at about five feet long, but he will grow up someday.


While the rest of the world was going nuts over Boaty McBoatface, another science boat was getting a name by internet poll, and this one turned out just fine. The waters of the Pacific Northwest will be monitored by the SoundGuardian.   

The name for King County’s new 48-foot, twin-hulled environmental research vessel was announced in January after a naming contest drew 319 votes. SoundGuardian led the way with 178 votes. The runners up were “Cascadia,” with 126 votes, and “SeaKing,” with 15 votes. According to the county’s news release, Environmental Laboratory field scientists will use the SoundGuardian “to collect water quality data in Puget Sound, Lake Washington and the Duwamish River. The new vessel, which will replace the 40-year-old Liberty, will be cleaner, more efficient and safer to operate in rough waters.”

What’s even neater is that the Seattle band Soundgarden blessed the boat personally. Drummer Matt Cameron and guitarist Kim Thayil came to the official christening Wednesday. 


An unnamed family in Lewisham, UK, has been the victim of an unusual intruder. They had been finding objects out of place over time, but it wasn’t until they had their security cameras serviced that they found it was a fox! In reviewing the footage, the family found that the fox would wander the halls of the home “like he owns the place,” while the family was in the next room. A month ago, they came home to find their son’s game controller out in the back garden. The culprit was the fox, which came into his bedroom, picked up the PlayStation controller, and jumped out the back window. You have to wonder why people who use security cameras to guard their homes don’t also use window and door screens.   


Irish jockey Chris Meehan was riding in a hurdle race in Merano, Italy, when his horse threw him, and he was kicked in the face as he fell. The kick broke his nose and bloodied his jaw. But help was on the way!

"The starter came over to help me because I was on my back and choking on my blood," Meehan explained. "He put me in the recovery position, with my right leg out straight. "As if that wasn't bad enough, the racecourse ambulance came up alongside us and reversed up onto my leg. They stopped it on top of my leg so I started screaming; it broke it straight away.

It’s bad enough to be thrown and kicked without an ambulance driving over you. Meehan was flown back to Ireland and is expected to have surgery on both his jaw and leg. He won’t be able to ride again for at least two months.


A 23-year-old woman recently had a 14-pound hairball removed from her stomach. The surgery gave her a lot of relief. Sophie Cox of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK, suffers from trichophagia, a nervous condition in which a person eats hair. She had been pulling out her hair and chewing on it for years, and began having stomach pains in 2014 after giving birth. Doctors tested for gallstones and cancer, and finally found the culprit by endoscopy. The bezoar was removed in an operation that lasted six hours. Now Cox is on a waiting list for therapy to treat the underlying condition. Be warned that the hairball is shown in the news story.


Zahara and Zamiyah Beary, ages five and seven, got up early on Thursday morning, put on their Disney Princess costumes and shower caps, and set out from their home in Brooklyn to get breakfast. The girls’ parents were still asleep. The princesses first went to McDonald’s, then a bagel shop, but had no money to pay for their food. A bystander paid for their bagels. The girls then boarded a train and went to Manhattan! By that time, the police were alerted by the parents. Police found the girls at around 9:15, and took them to get hash browns at McDonald’s. The children were reunited with their family at the 78th Street precinct.