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Offbeat and odd news: Rare 7-foot fish washes ashore on Oregon coast, more

Jun 8, 2024, 9:35 PM

Image:This image provided by Seaside Aquarium shows a hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore on Mond...

This image provided by Seaside Aquarium shows a hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore on Monday, June 3, 2024, on a beach in Gearhart, Oregon. (Photo: Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium via AP)

(Photo: Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium via AP)

A massive rare fish thought to only live in temperate waters in the southern hemisphere washed up on the Oregon coast, a Louisiana police officer earned the nickname “reptile wrangler” really quick and a man’s pinball collection led to becoming a Guinness World Record holder.

Rare 7-foot fish washes ashore on the Oregon coast garners worldwide attention

A massive rare fish thought to only live in temperate waters in the southern hemisphere has washed up on Oregon’s northern coast, drawing crowds of curious onlookers intrigued by the unusual sight.

As The Associated Press explained, the 7.3-foot hoodwinker sunfish first appeared on the beach in Gearhart on Monday, the Seaside Aquarium said in a media release. It was still on the beach on Friday and may remain there for weeks, the aquarium said, as it is difficult for scavengers to puncture its tough skin.

Photos provided by the aquarium showed a flat, round, gray fish lying on its side in the sand. Photos of a person kneeling next to it, and another of a pickup truck parked next to it, gave a sense of its large scale and size.

The stir it has created on social media prompted a New Zealand-based researcher who has studied sunfish to contact the aquarium. After looking at photographs of the fish, Marianne Nyegaard was able to confirm that it was indeed a hoodwinker sunfish — rarer than the more common ocean sunfish — and said she believed it may be the largest such fish ever sampled, according to the aquarium.

Louisiana police officer wrangles python, alligator in the same week

One Louisiana police officer may not be a full-time reptile handler, but he certainly looked like one during two incidents late last month, as People explained.

On May 29, Officer Donald Aubrey of the Houma Police Department (HPD) successfully removed a small alligator that wandered into a school.

Thanks to Aubrey’s response, no people or the animal were harmed. The alligator was safely released back into the wild.

Just a few days earlier, on May 26, Aubrey responded to a call about a large snake on someone’s property. Aubrey was able to safely detain what was believed to be a python without harm. HPD suspects the snake may have escaped from a local owner. According to one local report, the snake was more than 12 feet long.

No one was injured during the wrangling and HPD turned over the snake to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for scientific study.

Both captures were posted on video and posted on the Houma Police Department Facebook page.

Aubrey says his fellow HPD officers gave him a new nickname, “reptile wrangler.” He has gladly accepted the name.

Bear interrupts a California man washing his dishes

As UPI explained in a story this week, a West Coast man completing a typical chore in the kitchen of his home was interrupted by a bear who not only was trespassing, but probably could have been charged with breaking and entering as well.

Jason Wightman said he was washing dishes at home in Sierra Madre, California, when he looked to the side and saw a bear in his doorway.

The home owner posted a video he captured to Facebook showing what was happening while also trying to shoo the bear out of his house and off his property.

“Hello, are you nice?” Wightman said in the video. “You’re in my house. Get out of my house.”

Wightman said bears are common in his area, but he was stunned to see one inside his home.

Quicksand doesn’t just happen in Hollywood. It happened in Maine

A Maine woman enjoying a walk on a popular beach learned that quicksand doesn’t just happen in Hollywood movies in jungles or rainforests, according to The Associated Press.

Jamie Acord was walking at the water’s edge at Popham Beach State Park over the weekend when she sunk to her hips in a split second, letting out a stunned scream. She told her husband, “I can’t get out!”

“I couldn’t feel the bottom,” she said. “I couldn’t find my footing.”

Within seconds, her husband had pulled her from the sand trap, the sand filled in, and the stunned couple wondered: What just happened?

It turns out that quicksand, known as supersaturated sand, is a real thing around the world, even in Maine, far from the jungle locations where Hollywood has used it to add drama by ensnaring actors.

Ohio arcade owner has world’s largest collection of pinball machines

The owner of an Ohio arcade recently was surprised to learn he is now a Guinness World Record holder after his daughter secretly counted his collection of 1,041 pinball machines and submitted the paperwork, according to stories from WKBN-TV and UPI.

Rob Berk, owner of Past Times Arcade in Girard, Ohio, earned a spot in the “Guinness World Records” book for owning the most pinball machines. The previous record was 1,000.

The process of confirming the record was intense and time consuming, with Rob Berk’s daughter, Reilly Berk, leading the charge.

Every machine needed to be photographed, videotaped, numbered and identified, Reilly Berk told WKBN-TV. Plus, no duplicates were allowed to be counted toward the record and Rob Berk has 400 duplicates.

In addition, they needed to be upright and operable. Not all of the machines were, so the staff at Past Times helped.

“But they basically built this contraption where they would open up the game, slide these four legs on it, take the picture, and take them off,” Reilly Berk said.

After waiting for months to get confirmation of the record, Reilly Berk and the Past Times staff surprised Rob Berk at a party marking the arcade’s first anniversary.

“I can’t hardly believe this. This is a great honor, Rob Berk said, according to WKBN-TV.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, or email him here.

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Offbeat and odd news: Rare 7-foot fish washes ashore on Oregon coast, more