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WebClawer, the snake edition: Teen uses snake as jump rope; snake causes power outages, survives shock; venom as skin care?

May 21, 2009 |  1:03 pm

A two-headed snake, born in Northlands Pets pet shop

Snakes have slithered their way into news stories all around the globe recently. Their stories, ranging from the slightly strange to the downright absurd:

-- A Pittsburgh high school student stole an albino corn snake from a biology class and swung it around. The story was made even stranger by police reports of the student using the snake as a jump rope. The 17-year-old student faces theft and animal cruelty charges.  (The snake was, fortunately, unharmed.)  (Associated Press)

-- In Spain, a team of officers is waiting for up to three days for snake venom antidote to arrive from Mexico before raiding an apartment full of snakes. After the owner was admitted to a hospital for a rattlesnake wound, he reportedly told police he had two pythons, five boa constrictors and a rattlesnake in the apartment. The man was released but is expected to be charged with possession of dangerous reptiles. (United Press International)

-- In the northeastern Missouri town of Hannibal (that's right: former home of one Samuel Clemens), a large snake caused two power outages by entangling itself in the power lines. Despite being shocked by 13,800 volts, the snake survived. (Associated Press)

-- Possibly the scariest snake story of all involves an unwitting man in his own bathroom. (How dare you, snake?!)  A 51-year-old man in Taiwan was bitten on the privates by a black-and-yellow rat snake hiding in his toilet bowl.  (Reuters)

-- Who knew snake venom and Botox had anything in common? Apparently, synthetic snake venom is being used by dozens of skin-care companies in anti-aging creams as a more natural substitute for Botox due to complaints about Botox-related side effects. The compound, Syn-ake, seems to work -- it reportedly reduced wrinkle size by 52% compared with a control group. (L.A. Times)

-- Kenan Frager

Photo: A two-headed snake born in a pet shop in Durban, South Africa. Credit: Marine Veith / AFP/Getty Images

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