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Quick Takes: Engine trouble

Mechanic makes shocking discovery under the hood

Illustration by Lux Stock/Adobe

Quick Takes: Engine trouble
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Something looked off when a South Carolina auto mechanic popped the hood of a Ford Focus on Sept. 26 only to find what appeared to be a massive tan-colored hose stretching from the car’s radiator toward the back of the engine. It wasn’t an aftermarket part—it was a live 8-foot albino boa constrictor. Technicians at the Myrtle Beach Ford dealer said they didn’t know how the rare snake—which was still alive—came to be entwined under the hood of the sedan. Getting the 20-pound squatter out of the engine bay took some doing. Mechanics had to remove components from the engine so an exterminator could get to work. “Took a little bit to get him out because they’re all muscle,” snake removal expert Russell Cavender told WBTW-TV.

No place for pets

Do not put your pets through an X-ray scanner at airport security, Transportation Security Administration officials at Buffalo Niagara International Airport warned Sept. 27. The unusual reminder comes after TSA officials noticed an uptick at the airport with passengers who attempted to shove small dogs, cats, and other animals through the security screening conveyor belt typically reserved for carry-­on bags, purses, and other personal items. “The only time your pet should go for an X-ray is if your veterinarian schedules one,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told CNN.

Undesignated driver

Every dog has its day—but not behind the wheel. Police in Slovakia fined a motorist in September for apparently allowing his large brown hunting dog to sit in the driver’s seat of his moving vehicle. Speed cameras captured footage of the animal appearing to pilot the automobile without human intervention. Police said the driver claimed the dog surprised him by jumping in his lap and only appeared to take control of the vehicle, a story authorities dismissed after reviewing footage.

Donut hole

On the bright side, the DoorDash driver saved the food. The car, on the other hand, might be a write-off. Middleton, Mass., police say a delivery driver in September drove her vehicle straight into a swamp. The driver, who escaped the partially submerged car with a Dunkin’ Donuts order, told police she was just ­following her phone’s GPS directions down a dirt path when she plunged into the body of water. Police charged her with negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Tongue on fire

A scorched mouth and stomach couldn’t stop a Canadian man from breaking the world record for eating Carolina reaper hot peppers. Guinness World Records announced Sept. 26 that vegan competitive eater Mike Jack got 50 Carolina reaper peppers down in just over six minutes, 49 seconds—good enough for a new record. Many herald the reaper, which is hundreds of times hotter than a jalapeño, as the hottest pepper in the world. Jack, who devoured 85 additional reaper peppers after securing the record, said his stomach hurt more than his mouth: “I get bad cramps. It feels like someone is squeezing and twisting my guts.”

Reptile on the run

It’s hard to keep a good tortoise down. Officials with a Pennsylvania animal clinic reported on Oct. 2 they’d found their pet tortoise after it escaped its home—for a third time. Tank, who belongs to one of the veterinarians at the Leighton clinic, typically resides in an enclosed pen outside. “There was a hole in the fence that the little sucker plowed through,” veterinary technician Megan McFarland said. “I call him Houdini.” In his most recent breakout, Tank went missing for more than a week. But he didn’t make it far. Happily, staff said Tank turned up at a nearby ­residence he’d visited during ­previous escape attempts.

Sailing through retirement

Floating somewhere on the seven seas, Marty and Jess Ansen are enjoying their retirement. Ever since June 2022, the Australian couple has been cruising the world nonstop on more than 50 consecutive trips aboard a cruise ship. By Oct. 29, the couple will have been at sea for 500 days. According to the Ansens, the nonstop passage aboard Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess is cheaper than ­purchasing a retirement home in Australia. Besides the travel and sightseeing, the Ansens say they really appreciate ­leaving behind basic household chores like washing dishes or making the bed. They plan to stay on the ship for two years in all.


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