My favourite news story of the day …
Two elephants have been saved from the deadly Siberian cold by drinking vodka, Russian officials are reported as saying. Apparently the animals (which belonged to a Polish circus that had been touring the region) had to be taken out into the bitter cold after the wooden trailer they were travelling in caught fire in the Novosibirsk region. The elephants, aged 45 and 48, suffered frostbite to the tips of their ears amid temperatures of minus 40C, but they were warmed up by two cases of vodka mixed with warm water. The animals continued their recovery in a heated garage of a local college where they were brought by a truck under police escort.
Like with humans, alcohol can make animals feel warmer but it actually lowers their core body temperature, scientists say. But Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper quoted Novosibirsk zoo director Rostislav Shilo as saying that the elephants were not harmed or intoxicated by the vodka, and that without it they would have died of hypothermia or pneumonia.
So you’ll have to excuse me while I nip across to Tesco to buy myself a bottle of Smirnoff to ward off the freezing temperatures here in Glasgow, though I’ll be taking mine with tonic instead of water – purely medicinal of course!!!