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Odds and Ends

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Bat flies into truck cab as woman is driving

FOUKE, Ark. -- Amanda Jones was going batty trying to swat at the creature flying around in the cab of her truck.

Something flew in through her half-open window as she drove in darkness around 1 a.m. Sunday. It was flapping around her head and neck, so she swatted at it to try to make it go away.

She finally struck it down, and turned on the interior light to discover a still-living bat on the floorboard. It had a wingspan of about 5 inches, she said.

"I thought it was a big moth. I never expected it to be a bat," Jones said.

Jones drove home to Fouke in far southwestern Arkansas.

"I went in the house. I didn't want to see it anymore," she said. "My husband went back out to the truck and it was hanging upside down from the truck seat. It wouldn't get out of the truck. He finally caught it in a Mason jar."

Jones, who isn't sure whether the animal bit or scratched her, is awaiting results from the state lab on whether the bat was rabid.

"At the time it happened, I was freaking out," Jones said. "It flopped all the way down the side of my body."

Plant's foul odor doesn't keep crowds at bay

NACOGDOCHES, Texas -- Just about any other flower would smell sweeter, but that hasn't stopped plant lovers from enduring the stench of the rare blooms of the Amorphophallus titanum plant.

Braving an odor likened to rotting flesh, crowds this week viewed the blooms of the plant -- nicknamed the giant corpse flower -- that's growing in the shade house of the Mast Arboretum at Stephen F. Austin University.

The blooms at SFA are the first to be recorded in the state of Texas. Only about two dozen such blooms have been recorded in the United States since the plant, native to Indonesia and Sumatra, was introduced in 1937.

Crowds gasped at the beauty of the small flowers inside the plant which was pollinated Monday from a plant that recently bloomed at the University of Connecticut. The bloom's unique appearance, size and odor made the plant the center of attention.

-- From wire reports


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