At Live Science, we delve into science news from around the world every day — and some of those stories can get a little weird. Here are some of the strangest science news articles from this week.

Black kites (<i>Milvus migrans</i>) circle near a roadway during a fire on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.
Black kites (Milvus migrans) circle near a roadway during a fire on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.

Credit: Dick Eussen

Talk about pyromania — three species of raptors in Australia are known to snatch up burning brush from existing fires and plop it down elsewhere, starting new fires. This fiery technique helps the birds smoke out mammals, insects and other prey, a new study finds. [Read more about the pyromaniac birds]

Archaeologists have discovered and excavated the kitchen of James Hemings, the slave and chef of Thomas Jefferson. Hemings was the half brother of Jefferson’s wife, Martha. Jefferson had Hemings trained to be a chef in Paris, and Hemings later cooked for the couple at their home, Monticello, where the kitchen was found. [Read more about James Hemings’ life]

Northern spotted owls in some California counties are succumbing to rat poison used by marijuana growers.
Northern spotted owls in some California counties are succumbing to rat poison used by marijuana growers.

Credit: Shutterstock

Who knew that marijuana grow sites could affect owls? Unpermitted, private marijuana farmers in northwestern California are putting out rat poison to protect their crops. Many rats and mice that eat this poison are preyed on by owls, who then die of internal bleeding. [Read more about the marijuana farms’ impact on owls]

A newly designed ingestible, gas-sensing capsule is no larger than a pill.
A newly designed ingestible, gas-sensing capsule is no larger than a pill.

Credit: Peter Clarke/RMIT University

A high-tech, pill-size capsule may one day help doctors diagnose people with gut conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance. Once swallowed, the capsule can sense gases in the gut. Each condition has a unique “gas profile,” which can help lead to a diagnosis. [Read more about the swallowable sensor]

Flying fox bats hanging upside down.
Flying fox bats hanging upside down.

Credit: Shutterstock

A blistering heat wave in southern Australia has led to the deaths of more than 200 flying fox bats. The brains of these furry bats, who were mostly babies, were literally boiled by the high temperatures, which reached 111.5 degrees Fahrenheit (44.2 degrees Celsius). [Read more about the bats’ reaction to the heat wave]

Astronaut Ed White performed the first American spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965.
Astronaut Ed White performed the first American spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965.

Credit: NASA

Going into space appears to squeeze the fragile optic nerves of astronauts. A study on 15 space travelers showed that the tissues around the optic nerves tended to look warped and swollen in the weeks after the spaceflyers’ returned to Earth. [Read more about the astronauts’ eyes]

An alligator sticks its snout out through the ice at Shallotte River Swamp Park, in North Carolina.
An alligator sticks its snout out through the ice at Shallotte River Swamp Park, in North Carolina.

Credit: The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle, N.C.

When last week’s cold snap iced over a swamp in North Carolina, alligators there stuck their noses above the ice so that they could properly breathe. This behavior is poorly understood, but scientists have documented it before, including one case in which an alligator died despite making an ice hole. [Read more about the icy alligators]

Want more weird science news and discoveries? Check out these and other “Strange News” stories on Live Science!

Original article on Live Science.

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