ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Most times it’s bad weather or bird strikes that delay flights. This time it was an alligator. Anthony Velardi says his plane had just landed at the Orlando International Airport on Monday when he spotted the large reptile casually lumbering across the tarmac toward a pond. He posted a 10-second video on Facebook. Velardi says the Spirit Airlines flight had to wait about five minutes before it could taxi to the gate. He says an airport truck arrived at the pond to make sure the alligator didn’t return to the taxiway. Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell told The Associated Press that such sightings are infrequent, even though 280 acres of the airport’s land are covered in water. Fennell says the alligator’s presence didn’t impact any other airport operations.
BEEVILLE, Texas (AP) — A South Texas man says he was cleaning the bathroom at his home when his 6-year-old son alerted him. About 3 feet of a snake was slithering out of the toilet and climbing toward a window. Wade Velock tells San Antonio TV station KSAT he ran so fast he knocked down his son. Bee County sheriff’s deputies were called. In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s office says Deputy Lindsay Scotten retrieved the snake, which appeared to be about 5 feet long, in the bathroom vanity, then released it into the brush. It was identified as a non-venomous blue indigo. Velock says Scotten told him she has trouble dealing with cockroaches but is OK handling snakes.
RACCOON STARTS FIRE
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Authorities say a raccoon that got into the power lines was the culprit for a small brush fire overnight in Weber County. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Riverdale fire chief Jared Sholly said Monday that the raccoon set himself on fire on accident and then fell of the power line to start the brush fire. Sholly says firefighters went to the scene near Interstate 84 and Riverdale Road at 3 a.m. Monday. The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes. Nobody was hurt, but the raccoon died. Sholly says it’s not uncommon for animals to start fires by getting caught on power liens.
RICHMOND POLICE DOGS
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) —It’s kind of a rags to riches story for some puppies in Richmond, Va. They had been born to a dog seized by animal control officials. But now they are now on track for a shot at joining the Richmond police department. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the four Belgian Malinois puppies are being raised in a collaborative effort between the police department and Richmond Animal Care and Control. Once they get older, experts will identify whether they would make a good fit for the K-9 unit. For now, the dogs are being introduced to basic tugging skills and other tasks. If they work out, it’ll also save the department money. One official says if the department goes through a vendor, each dog can cost $5,000 to $7,000.
BOYS-WALDEN POND RESCUE
CONCORD, Mass. (AP) — Two young boys are earning acclaim for rescuing an adult swimmer who started struggling in the middle of Walden Pond. But 9-year-old Herman Tsakhaev and 11-year-old Bodie Thompson say they were just doing the right thing. The boys were paddleboarding Sunday on the Massachusetts pond made famous by writer Henry David Thoreau when they noticed the struggling man. They paddled over, hauled him onto one of their boards, and made their way to shore where rescue personnel were waiting. Concord Fire Capt. Bill Noke says the swimmer had a leg cramp and might have drowned had the boys not rescued him. The department tweeted “a huge shout out” to the boys. Bodie said if it happened again, he would do what he could. Herman says anyone would have done what they did.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota high school pitcher consoled his friend after striking him out in a playoff game. Mounds View pitcher Ty Koehn struck out Jack Kocon of Totino-Grace to end the game in the Class 4A, Section 5 baseball final last week. The win touched off a celebration near home plate as Mounds View advanced to the state tournament. But before joining his teammates in the celebration, Koehn consoled Kocon at home plate. Video shows Koehn giving his friend a long hug and walking him back toward his dugout before joining the celebration. The Star Tribune reports the two played youth baseball together.