London parrot does online shopping by mimicking owner

Silhouette of a scarlet macaws taken at the El Picacho municipal zoo in the north of Tegucigalpa, on May 11, 2007. (File photo by AFP)
Updated 21 September 2017
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London parrot does online shopping by mimicking owner

LONDON: A pet parrot managed to place an online shopping order by mimicking its owner on a voice-controlled smart speaker, a British newspaper reported Wednesday.
Buddy the parrot ordered a £10 ($13.50, 11.50 euro) set of gift boxes via Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled system, The Sun reported.
The mystery order triggered an inquest in Corienne Pretorius’s house in southeast London, but after ruling out her husband and son, she figured out Buddy was to blame after hearing him interact with the speaker.
“I couldn’t believe it when I realized that Buddy had made an Amazon order,” the South African said.
Users can shout commands to the Amazon Echo speaker to access a host of services. It responds to the name Alexa.
Footage on the Sun’s website shows the parrot squawking “Alexa!” and the device next to his cage lighting up blue, indicating that it is listening for commands.
“Buddy said ‘Alexa’ and some gibberish, and the machine replied, ‘What is it you want to order?” Pretorius said.
She thought nothing more of it until she got a notification that an order had been placed for some golden gift boxes.
“I laughed out loud because I knew then that it was Buddy.”
Amazon said customers were asked to confirm a purchase by saying “yes,” and the settings can be adjusted to turn off voice purchasing.
“Buddy is hilarious. We have a cat and he mimics that, too. He is such an attention-seeker. He also swears in Afrikaans. When we go to bed, he says, ‘goodnight’,” his owner said.


Python selfie puts Indian forest ranger in tight spot

Updated 37 min 16 sec ago
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Python selfie puts Indian forest ranger in tight spot

  • The Indian rock python is a non-venomous species, but it can quickly kill its prey by constricting blood flow

KOLKATA: An India forestry ranger found himself in a bind after a python briefly strangled him while he posed for pictures with the giant snake.
Wildlife officer Sanjay Dutta was called in Sunday by frantic villagers in West Bengal after they saw the 40-kilogramme (88-pound) python swallowing a goat alive.
Instead of placing it safely inside a bag, the ranger wrapped it around his neck and posed for pictures with stunned villagers.
But panic spread as the huge snake wound itself around Dutta’s neck, forcing him to struggle to free himself from its vice-like grip.
He escaped unscathed, but a little red-faced.
The Indian rock python is a non-venomous species, but it can quickly kill its prey by constricting blood flow and can grow up to 10 meters (33 feet) long.
West Bengal’s forest department has launched an official inquiry into the ranger’s conduct and flouting of safety protocols.
But Dutta said he only wanted to save the reptile from the villagers who were readying to club it to death with sticks.
“My first instinct was to rescue the snake. I carried it on my shoulders and held its mouth firmly,” Dutta told AFP.
“I was not scared for even a moment (when the python tightened its grip) because had I panicked, it could have been fatal.”
Dutta said he did not have a bag to carry the snake, which he transported to a safe location in his car and released into the wild.