Usually, when you pick up a piece of furniture off the curb, you're worried about mold or bedbugs, maybe even loose screws. Never snakes.
Grand Rapids resident Holly Wright and her boyfriend brought home a couch they found on the street, hoping to make it a permanent fixture of their abode. And for two months all was peaceful. "We smelled it and everything—it looked OK," Wright told WZZM. "We peeled off the cushions, cleaned it up, never saw anything."
Then one day a boa constrictor emerged from beneath the cushions.
Fortunately, it was clear the snake was starved and represented no threat. "It was very lethargic," said Wright. "It didn't really react or hiss."
Wright said that they initially intended to nurse the snake back to health and care for it indefinitely, but it died soon after it revealed itself. "It was quite cold in the room, there was no food for the snake and I think it came out of the couch because it was dying," Wright explained. The snake's true origins are still unknown.
And that's why you should always check your furniture for snakes.
Wearing a helmet doesn't simply remove all the risk. Photo: moodboard/Thinkstock
Update: Helmets Aren't Protecting You From TBIs
Footage of Schumacher crash shows Formula One racer was off-piste when he crashed.
In the wake of Michael Schumacher’s December skiing accident, 2013 closed with yet another look at the dangers of traumatic brain injuries and just how little we are doing to protect ourselves on the slopes. Despite improving technology, helmets cannot keep up with skiers going bigger, faster, and higher, which Marc Peruzzi discusses in “After the Crash” in the December issue of Outside.
Helmets are in fact quite good at preventing lacerations and fractures but are doing very little in terms of protection from concussions and TBIs. As contributing Outside writer Kelley McMillan explains in her recent New York Times article, the root of the issue lies in the increase of risk-taking behavior. Terrain parks are getting bigger and steeper, backcountry access is getting easier, and new equipment is allowing everybody to go much faster and higher than ever before.
"It's such a perfect storm for the demographics [skiing and snowboarding are] being marketed to," McMillan says. "People really need to take more responsibility of their skiing."
“There’s this energy drink culture now, a high-level, high-risk culture, that’s being marketed and impacting the way people ski,” Robb Gaffney, a sports psychiatrist, told The Times.
Helmets are undoubtedly providing some level of safety and are even saving lives, yet putting one on doesn’t simply eliminate all the risk. There is an unfortunate history that "when you make something safer, people will take more risks," McMillan says.
UPDATE; January 8, 2014:
New helmet-cam footage reveals Schumacher was “off-piste” when he crashed in the French Alps late last year. In an announcement on Wednesday morning, investigators referenced a two-minute clip of Schumacher’s personal camera, which revealed the Formula One racer was skiing off the groomed trail when he crashed.
The 45 year-old Schumacher remains in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble. According to reports from the AP, the December 29 crash split Schumacher’s helmet in two upon impact. Investigators are still studying the footage, but Schumacher reportedly fell face down and struck his head on a rock. Doctors are claiming that the ski helmet did in fact save the driver’s life.
There is no timetable for the investigation and experts are being asked to analyze the helmet-cam footage to better understand the crash.
Sticky-fingered thieves have struck again. British police are looking for crooks who stole a hive full of hibernating bees last month.
The hive, which was taken from a community garden in Norwich, contained up to 60,000 bees, the Huffington Post reports.
According to Norfolk police, it would have taken at least two people to move the structure.
This isn’t the first time Britain has had to deal with bee rustlers. When the country’s honeybee population declined suddenly several years ago due to poor weather and pestilence, the black market trade in stolen hives exploded. Beekeepers, already stung by the shortage, were warned to protect their hives.
“The beekeeping world used to be like a Harry Potter underworld of beekeepers who all knew one another. To steal someone’s honeybees is like stealing their dog,” one woman told The Guardian.
This is disconcerting news because donkey meat (without fox meat in it) is actually popular in China, relatively speaking. In 2011, China slaughtered 2.4 million donkeys, according to country's livestock industry yearbook.
Wal-Mart, which operates more than 400 facilities in China, refunded those who may have purchased the tainted meat when the Shandong Food and Drug Administration earlier said the product contained the DNA of other animals. The company is now investigating the Chinese supplier and hopes to create more stringent food safety regulation overseas.
Six hundred people in various swimwear—including Speedos, string bikinis, and Viking costumes—participated in the Polar Plunge, which is sponsored by the L Street Brownies Swimming Club. The National Weather Service reports that the tempertature during this frigid baptism was 24 degrees.
The event is a New Year's tradition and has been held every year since 1904. Also, there is no charge to participate. Money raised from T-shirt sales and hot chocolate was donated to the South Boston Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund and to the youth hockey association.
Images and video from Boston's Polar Plunge:
Want to get Outside more?
Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest fitness tips, expert gear reviews, the best travel advice, and more.