Brullie has become the first frog in the world to be fitted with a false leg.
The giant bullfrog had his shattered lower leg bone replaced with an inch-long metal pole during a painstaking two hour operation.
The lame amphibian went under the vet’s knife after being bitten by a dog.
Owner Anne Mearns, 62, said: “People think I’m mad to care so much about a frog but I couldn’t bear to see him in so much pain.
“Frogs are famous for their legs, so the thought of Brullie being left lame broke my heart. I knew without surgery he would never move again, so I to rushed to the vet and begged him to operate.
“The vet was more used to saving cats and dogs and couldn’t understand why I was so worried about a frog, but he eventually agreed.
“It was a nervous few hours while we waited for him to come around after the op, but he’s healing up now and hobbling about the garden. The x-rays suggest he’ll be as good as new.”
Mrs Mearns, a wildlife expert who writes teaching material for schools, believes the operation is the first time a frog has ever undergone surgery to replace a broken bone.
Brullie remained unconscious after the vet rubbed a tiny dose of watered-down dog anaesthetic into his porous skin.
The surgeon, who operated for free, then opened the damaged limb to insert the tiny steel rod over the snapped right leg bone.
His scaly skin was later sewn back together with nine stitches to allow the wound to heal.
These x-rays show the state of Brullie’s leg before and after the unique operation.
Just weeks later he is already on the move at Mrs Mearns’ home near Johannesburg, South Africa.
The dedicated conservationist stepped in to save Brullie after he was discovered by a neighbour following the vicious dog attack last month.
The animal is around 25 years old and lives on a healthy diet of rodents, snakes and other frogs.
He is one of a dwindling species of bullfrogs found only in wetlands across southern Africa.
A 72-year-old man has credited his pet cockatiel with saving his life after raising the alarm by making a “heck of a noise” when he had a stroke.
Brian Molineaux, a night porter, collapsed at his home in Chelmsford, Essex, before he could feed his 17-year-old pet, called Budgie.
The bird made “such a fuss” that it alerted his wife, Shirley, 68, who called for help.
Mr Molineaux, who spent four days in hospital but has since made a “miraculous” recovery, said: “Budgie wanted feeding and that’s probably why she made such a fuss.
“Apparently she made a heck of a noise.”
Mrs Molineaux, who was in bed at the time, said her “sixth sense” alerted her to the fact that something “wasn’t quite right” on the morning of March 2.
“Budgie is a free-flying bird in the house and when Brian gets up he always changes her feed,” she said. “This morning he didn’t and she was waiting, as if to say: ‘Where’s my food?’.
“She started making a lot of noise and a sixth sense made me come downstairs.
“Quite often I would have turned over and gone back to sleep. But this wasn’t quite right, with her making such a fuss, so I went down.”
Mrs Molineaux found her husband, who had not experienced any previous strokes, lying on the living room floor.
Ambulance crews arrived soon after and Mr Molineaux was taken to hospital.
“I’ve made a miraculous recovery,” he said. “I’m in my 70s and I’ve seen some dreadful results from strokes – people who can’t speak or move their legs.
“Part of the reason I’ve made such a good recovery is the fact that I got help so quickly – and that’s thanks to Budgie.”
Highly trained sniffer-rats could become the latest weapon against landmine’s after one was taught to smell out explosive devices.
Staff at Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary near Liskeard, Cornwall, have been teaching Gambian poached rat Kofi to alert handlers when he detects a mine. Kofi is too small to set off the booby-traps but his acute sense of smell can pick up the scent of the bomb casing.
Rats have been trained in Africa to hunt for land mines but Kofi is the first to undergo the program in Britain.
Handler Wendy Winstanley now plans to contact the Army and the police anti-terror unit to offer her rats’ services for use both home and abroad.
She said: “Kofi is amazing, his sniff ability is really incredible. People think of rats as vermin but they are highly intelligent creatures.
“They have a more heightened sense of smell than dogs and because they are so much lighter they have less chance of setting off an explosive.
“Obviously we don’t have land mines in this country but I’m so happy with his development that I would be happy to send him to the Gambia if he was required.
Michael Jackson will live close to haunted caves when he rents a country house for the duration of his concerts in London this summer.
The eccentric singer is reported to have paid £1 million to rent a large country house near the edge of an ancient 22-mile maze of haunted passageways.
The undisclosed home is thought to be close to the Chislehurst Caves in Bromley, in the south-east suburbs of London.
Ghost sightings have been reported at the caves, which were dug in chalk by the Saxons, Druids and Romans.
A property source told The Sun: “His team signed up this week to stay there. We’re not sure if he knows about the caves but they’re all around.”
The 50-year-old star sent aides to find the perfect country retreat before his first gig in London on July 8.
The three-storey pile – built in the 1800s – has quarters for 20 staff as well as an underground cinema, music room, indoor swimming pool, lake and private wood.
Closed circuit television cameras and state-of-the-art alarm systems will prevent fans getting anywhere near the star during his series of 50 concerts.
An armoured suckermouth catfish, a reptilian-like fish normally found in South America, has been found in a Leicestershire waterway.
The prehistoric creature has scaly skin similar to a crocodile and an impressive set of teeth.
It was found, already dead, by schoolboy fisherman Shawn Brown in the Grand Union Canal at Wigston.
The 14-year-old took a picture of his 10 ins-long discovery and showed it to a number of aquarists who managed to identify it.
The armoured suckermouth catfish normally lives in Panama, Costa Rica and South America.
Experts say it is the first time one has been found in our waterways.
It is thought to have been released into the canal after growing too big for somebody’s aquarium but could not survive in the colder water.
John Hall, who runs All Seasons Angling tackle shop in Wigston, said: “We are only 300 yards from where Shawn found it and he came in here and showed me the photo. He is a good little fisherman and as soon as he saw it knew it didn’t belong here.
“He went home and looked it up on the internet to try and see what it was but he had to send it off to experts to identify it.
A magistrate, John Harrison, is under investigation after reportedly falling asleep during a teenager’s trial for an alleged assault.
Mr Harrison was sitting with two colleagues at Lancaster Magistrates Court when the defendant’s mother noticed that he had closed his eyes.
She complained and her son’s solicitor made an official representation to the court.
Mr Harrison denied having fallen sleep, but after discussions with both his colleagues and a court official he decided to halt the case after a day and a half.
The defendant will now have to return to court next month for a new trial.
Mr Harrison told his local newspaper he had merely been resting his eyes.
“I was not asleep, but I rested my eyes for five minutes or so,” he said. “It was just a normal reaction in the middle of the afternoon.
“The court was warm – the heating was on and the sun was pouring in through the window.
“I was still listening to the defence solicitor speaking to the defendant and I was able to take down some notes related to what was said.
“My two colleagues sitting with me said I was not asleep and we could have continued with the trial. But I listened to my legal advisor and felt that if the mother was so aggrieved it was in the interests of justice to have a retrial.”
Mr Harrison, a magistrate since 1997, said he was considering raising the issue of humidity in the courtroom at a forthcoming meeting of the Lancaster bench.
A spokesman for the Judicial Communications Office confirmed that the matter had been referred to the local magistrates’ advisory committee, which has the power to discipline magistrates.
Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of Top Gear, has become a YouTube sensation after pranksters trapped him inside a portable loo.
After spotting the television star entering a cubicle at the Mallorca Classic Car Rally, jokers placed a stack of rubber tyres outside the door to prevent him from getting out.
On the YouTube film, Clarkson can be heard shouting and kicking the door from within as onlookers howl with laughter. Eventually, the presenter topples the tyres and emerges looking rather embarrassed.
The footage has attracted tens of thousands of views on YouTube
Clarkson was in Mallorca with his Top Gear co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond to film for a forthcoming episodes of the BBC show.
The 48-year-old was last in the news when he referred to Gordon Brown as a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” during a press launch in Sydney, Australia. Following condemnation from disability charities and MPs, he issued a partial apology.
“I have nothing against the Scottish and of course I regret making any remark that might have upset the disabled. But the ‘idiot’ bit – there is no chance I’ll apologise for that.”
The team at Aston University created tiny bundles of cells which act like a mini nervous system.
They believe it could help find a cure for degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, motor neurone or Parkinson’s disease.
Professor Michael Coleman is leading the research.
He explained: “We are aiming to be able to study the human brain at the most basic level, using an actual living human cellular system.
“Cells have to be alive and operating efficiently to enable us to really understand how the brain works.”
The experiment involves altering cells from a cancer tumour and making them behave like brain cells.
Although far from finished, scientists hope the fake brain cells will give them a greater understanding of how real brains work.
This, in turn, could significantly further research into conditions which affect the brain.
Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is still very early days, but in the future this interesting research could lead to a useful tool for investigating dementia.”
A man who has hiccuped more than 10 million times in two years is hoping an operation can cure his problem.
Christopher Sands, 25, first started hiccuping uncontrollably back in February 2007.
His unsettled stomach has gone off once every two seconds for up to 12 hours a day – devastating his career as a singer in a rock band.
And every known cure has been tried, from eating honey while upside down to sitting in a compression chamber.
But his hopes have been raised after doctors diagnosed a damaged stomach valve which they hope keyhole surgery can fix.
Mr Sands, of Timberland, Lincolnshire, said: “I’m pinning all my hopes on this operation. I want my life back.
“I can hardly eat or sleep or socialise. I can’t work and it’s next to impossible to make music.
“It’s exhausting. I’ve tried everything. I must’ve drunk water a hundred different ways. I do yoga. I’ve been to a hypnotherapist. I’ve tried every treatment.”
Doctors at Queen Medical Centre, Nottingham, where the surgery was due to be performed on Wednesday, said the damaged stomach valve was causing an acid condition leading to heartburn and chronic hiccups.
Christopher’s friend Teyen Widdicombe, said he was looking forward to going under the knife.
“It is not certain that the operation will end the hiccups, so we will just have to wait and see,” he said.
106-year-old woman with a passion for life in the fast lane has become the oldest person to complete a lap at Brands Hatch.
Dulcibella King-Hall notched up a top speed of 108mph as she put one of its new BMW M3s through its paces to celebrate her 107th birthday on Saturday.
Miss King-Hall, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, gamely declared “It could have been faster” as she was helped back into her wheelchair after completing four laps of the 1.6-mile course as a passenger.