This week in odd news: Snake in pants and a cow in a pool

This illustration made available by the European Southern Observatory in 2014 shows shows dust surrounding a supernova explosion. On Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, astronomers reported that a star 500 million light-years away exploded in 1954 and apparently again in 2014. The research confounds scientists who thought they knew how dying stars ticked. (M. Kornmesser/ESO via AP)

SNAKE SURPRISE: GERMAN POLICE DETAIN MAN WITH A 14-INCH PYTHON IN HIS PANTS

BERLIN (AP) — A young man detained by police during a drunken argument in Germany was found to be carrying a baby python in his pants, and may be in trouble under animal welfare laws.

Police in the southwestern city of Darmstadt said the 19-year-old was detained on Tuesday night after a loud argument with another man disturbed residents. They said he was searched and officers noticed “a significant bulge in his trousers.”

The man told officers that he had a snake in his pants, and pulled out a 35-centimeter (14-inch) baby king python.

He was taken to a police cell to sober up, and the snake put in a box. Police said Wednesday they were looking for the reptile’s owner and examining whether “the non-species-appropriate transport” violated animal protection laws.

SCREAMS OF “HELP!” DRAW 911 CALL, BUT PARROT IS THE SCREAMER

CLACKAMAS, Ore. (AP) — A deliveryman in Oregon who heard a woman’s screams for help had his wife call 911, but when a deputy showed up it turned out the screamer was a parrot, not a woman.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday that when Clackamas County Sheriff’s Deputy Hayden Sanders showed up, all he found was Diego the Parrot.

The green-and-yellow bird was in good health and no humans were involved.

GERMANS CAN NOW TWEET RINDFLEISCHETIKETTIERUNGSUEBERWACHUNGSAUFGABENUEBERTRAGUNGSGESETZ

BERLIN (AP) — German bureaucrats — notorious for their ability to create lengthy tongue twisters consisting of one single word — are celebrating the doubling of Twitter’s character limit.

Twitter announced Tuesday it’s increasing the limit for almost all users of the messaging service from 140 to 280 characters, prompting a mix of delighted and despairing reactions.

Waking up to the news Wednesday, Germany’s justice ministry wrote that it can now tweet about legislation concerning the transfer of oversight responsibilities for beef labeling.

The law is known in German as the Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz.

Munich police, meanwhile, said that “at last” they won’t need abbreviations to tweet about accidents involving forklift drivers, or Niederflurfoerderfahrzeugfuehrer.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert made clear he’ll keep it short, quoting Anton Chekhov: “Brevity is the sister of talent.”

SELF-CHECKOUT STRIKEOUT: WOMAN ACCUSED OF SWITCHING TAGS TO GET $1,800 IN ELECTRONICS FOR $3.70

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a woman tried to sneak more than $1,800 worth of electronics through a Florida Walmart’s self-checkout by switching the items’ price tags with those from clearance items.

Treasure Coast Newspapers reports that 25-year-old Cheyenne Amber West was arrested Monday and charged with felony grand theft and felony shoplifting.

An arrest report says a loss-prevention officer at the Vero Beach Walmart told a deputy he saw West and another woman select a computer, video game controllers and other merchandise from the electronics department. The report says West covered the bar codes with stickers removed from less expensive items that rang up to just $3.70.

West was free on $3,000 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.

The woman who was with West wasn’t arrested.

UDDER SURPRISE: HEIFER FOUND IN FAMILY’S SWIMMING POOL

NEWTON, N.C. (AP) — An 800-pound heifer made a big splash when it was found in a North Carolina family’s swimming pool.

Catawba County Chief Animal Control Officer Jenna Arsenault told news outlets the agency received a 911 call Wednesday morning and arrived to find the young female bovine defiantly staring from the pool in Newton.

The pool’s owner, Burt Thornburg, says he looked out the door and thought something fell into the pool. He says he started ripping off the cover and uncovered the cow.

Authorities say a team managed to lasso the horns and pull the cow from the pool. The cow was believed to be in the pool for two hours or more.

Authorities believe the cow was grazing and walked across the pool cover, thinking it was solid.

UNJUST DESSERTS: SUSPECT HANDS OUT DOUGHNUTS DURING ROBBERY

HOUSTON (AP) — A suspect robbing a Houston doughnut shop handed out doughnuts to customers whose cellphones he stole.

The Star-Telegram reports that the robbery happened at 3 p.m. on Oct. 16 at a Shipley’s Do-Nuts. Police released surveillance video this week that shows three men wearing hoodies and bandannas robbing the store.

While two of the men were behind the counter demanding the cash from the registers, the third took the cellphones of the two customers in the store. He then jumped over the counter, exchanged words with the customers and picked out two crullers, which he handed to them in wax paper.

The suspects then left the store. Police are searching for them.

STELLAR ENCORE: DYING STAR KEEPS COMING BACK BIG TIME

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Death definitely becomes this star.

Astronomers reported Wednesday on a massive, distant star that exploded in 2014 — and also, apparently back in 1954. This is one supernova that refuses to bite the cosmic dust, confounding scientists who thought they knew how dying stars ticked.

The oft-erupting star is 500 million light-years away — one light-year is equal to 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers) — in the direction of the Big Bear constellation. It was discovered in 2014 and, at the time, resembled your basic supernova that was getting fainter.

But a few months later, astronomers at the California-based Las Cumbres Observatory saw it getting brighter. They’ve seen it grow faint, then bright, then faint again five times. They’ve even found past evidence of an explosion 60 years earlier at the same spot.

Supernovas typically fade over 100 days. This one is still going strong after 1,000 days, although it’s gradually fading.

The finding was published Wednesday in the journal Nature .