It's a whale of a trick.
An enterprising young killer whale has figured out how to use fish as bait to catch seagulls — and has shared his strategy with his fellow whales.
Michael Noonan, a professor of animal behavior at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., made the whale-sized discovery by accident while studying orca acoustics at Marineland in Niagara Falls.
"One day I noticed one of the young whales appeared to have come up with a procedure for luring gulls down to the pool," the professor said. "I found it interesting so I noted it in my log."
First, the young whale spit regurgitated fish onto the surface of the water, then sank below the water and waited.
If a hungry gull landed on the water, the whale would surge up to the surface, sometimes catching a free meal of his own.
Noonan watched as the same whale set the same trap again and again.
Within a few months, the whale's younger half brother adopted the practice. Eventually the behavior spread and now five Marineland whales supplement their diet with fresh fowl, the scientist said.
"It looked liked one was watching while the other tried," Noonan said of the whale's initial behavior.
The capacity to come up with the gull-baiting strategy and then share the technique with others — known as cultural learning in the scientific world — was once believed to be one of those abilities that separated humans from other animals.
But biologists have since proven certain animals, including dolphins and chimps, do this.
"This is an example in which a new behavior spread through a population," Noonan said. "We had the opportunity to see a tradition form and spread in exactly the way that cultures do in humans."
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 12-year-old boy awoke to an unpleasant surprise this week when a python bit him in his bed. Michael Rodriguez discovered the 4-foot snake clinging to his right arm early Monday morning. He flailed his arm, flinging the snake to the carpet.
"I didn't cry, and then I walked to my parents' room," Michael said Tuesday, still displaying bite marks on the side of his right hand. He suffered only a minor injury. The snake is not venomous.
"We thought he was dreaming, but he was holding his hand and it was bleeding," said his father, Cedric Esqueda. "It was a pretty good bite, and I think when he threw it from his arm it made the bite worse."
The family just recently moved into the northwest Fresno home and doesn't own a snake.
"We have no idea where it came from," said Michael's mother, Christina Esqueda.
Animal control officials seized the ball python and it could be adopted or euthanized.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — It might be a hobby, but Steve Lee really knows how to spot a diamond in the rough. Lee's most recent find — a 1.22-carat, gem-quality diamond — turned up during a recent visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro.
He said he hadn't been able to hunt for diamonds in more than two years because a disability forced him to use crutches. Lee returned this year after friends persuaded him to take up the hobby again.
"It's a real thrill to find one this nice," he said Tuesday. "Even if you can't get around good, you can still do it."
Crater of Diamonds Superintendent Tom Stolarz said the size of the find isn't necessarily unusual for the park, but the quality of the diamond is exceptional. The state park is the only diamond mine in North America in which the public can dig.
About 25 diamonds are found each year that weigh more than a carat, Stolarz said.
In previous years, Lee has found a 6-carat diamond, a 4.7-carat and a few 2-carat diamonds at the park.
The diamond he found Monday could be worth more than $1,000, but he's got other plans for it: "This one's for mom," he said.
KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — Residents just don't understand the gibberish. Paul Perkins eyed the strange number on his phone when he received a call early Saturday morning. He let voicemail take it. The caller filled the message with three minutes of gibberish.
"I get this long, jumbled up message, and I couldn't understand a word of it," Perkins said.
Kearney residents and businesses have been receiving these random phone calls by a caller that is having a hard time speaking English, and a hard time understanding that he has the wrong number. The caller called Perkins twice over the weekend and his employer, Crossroads Ford, received four calls.
The gibberish is nothing new to the Kearney Police Department as the caller seems to like the 308 area code, said police chief Dan Lynch. The calls do not seem to have criminal intent and cannot be part of a scam, because no one can understand the caller, Lynch said.
Lynch hopes the caller will find a new area code and prefix to dial soon. Otherwise, residents are advised to simply block the number from their phones, ignore the calls and report excessive calls to police.
And when reporting the problem, please speak clearly.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Jennifer D'Angelo.
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