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RZSL A Helsinki squirrel dived into the bicycle wheel of passing opera singer Esa Ruuttunen, hospitalising him and killing itself.

The squirrel - apparently not an opera fan - ran headlong at Ruuttunen's spokes. Alarmed, the bicycling bass baritone hit the deck.

Instead of attending rehearsals for new Finnish opus Kaarmeen hetki (Hour of the Serpent), Ruuttunen attended casualty with concussion and a broken nose.

Fans of Scandinavian-language* "passion-laden thriller[s]" looking forward to the aforementioned "wild drama delving into the soul of a woman" needn't begin a candlelit prayer vigil for Ruuttunen's recovery though. A Finnish National Opera spokeswoman told Reuters: "He is not yet singing in rehearsals, but thinks he will be able to perform at the world premiere."

Yesterday's tragically notable exception aside, things have been fairly quiet on the animal attack front this summer. We look forward to a resumption of full hostilities forthwith. ®

Bootnote

*Within seconds of posting this story, we were deluged with complaints from the Arctic unit of El Reg's diachronic linguistics and etymology SWAT team.

Firstly, it's "Käärmeen hetki". The letter "ä" in Finnish, unlike German for example, is a totally separate letter of the alphabet. Secondly, the opera cannot be "Scandinavian-language" as Finnish isn't. It's Finno-Ugric, being related to Estonia and Hungarian, rather than the likes of Swedish and Norwegian.

- George

We consider ourselves duly educated.

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