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Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Britons seek the strangest sites
A hedgehog, BBC
Someone wants to make homes for hedgehogs

The top terms that people search for on the net are a good guide to the crazes and trends sweeping the world.

Currently topping the charts is the Sars virus, war in Iraq and more populist subjects such as David Beckham and pop singer Avril Lavigne.

Now MSN, Microsoft's net portal, has compiled a list of the least popular search terms that only a handful of people, in some cases only one, have looked for.

The list provides a slightly unsettling insight into the lives of a few British web users who are seeking information on some very esoteric subjects.

Odd hobby

At the top of the list is the phrase "walking with woodlice" which sounds strange but is a real site run by the Britain's Natural History Museum.

It perhaps draws some of its inspiration from the BBC's series of programmes that give the viewer a new view of life during the heyday of the dinosaurs, cavemen and other ancient beasts.

Walking with woodlice
Sausage calories
Monkey origami
Queen's Blue Peter badges
Black pudding throwing
Hedgehog houses
Ham sandwich digestion
Rules of naked petanque
Love of stones
UK places with 'Z' in the name
How to be a Texas ranger
Tropical fish euthanasia
Virtual geese honking
Zebra races
Walking stick making
Zoo heaven
Static caravan fan club
Washing crystal balls
Hedgerow hypothesis
Staffordshire bull terrier portraits

The list of least searched for terms reveals the curious hobbies of some Britons, with people looking for rules to play petanque in the nude or for fellow black pudding flingers.

Novel hobbies, such as making walking sticks or hedgehog houses, seem to effect some searches.

Others seem to be prompted by a particular event.

The person looking for information on "tropical fish euthanasia" may have suffered a domestic tragedy and was looking for a humane way to help a pet depart this world.

Another unforeseen incident could have made someone search for guidance on the best way to clean their crystal ball.

And whoever was looking for information about ham sandwich digestion may have been bored while eating their lunch.

Some of the other rare searches are simply bizarre.

Quite what those looking for "virtual geese honking" or "monkey origami" actually wanted help with is hard to guess.

"Not everyone is into hard news, hot celebrities and soap gossip," said Robin Kellet, MSN search marketing manager.

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