The discovery of the H5N1 strain of bird flu at a farm in Suffolk is bleak news, UK papers agree.
The virus is threatening devastation at the heart of the British poultry industry, according to the Daily Mail.
The Times warns that some government vets have suggested that H5N1 may by now already have reached endemic levels among Britain's wild bird population.
"The Nightmare Before Christmas" is the Sun's assessment of the latest problem faced by the country's farmers.
Scotland will gain independence from the UK within the next decade - if Alex Salmond's words in the Guardian are to be believed, that is.
The paper describes nationalist leader's assertion as a "surprise".
His remarks, it says, have overshadowed a last-minute crisis over his minority government's first-ever budget.
But the Times points out that his claim follows a recent survey suggesting that only 23% of Scots voters now support independence from the rest of the UK.
Badge of honour
The Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, speaks out in a Daily Telegraph interview.
He argues that the covenant between the Armed Forces and the British people is under threat because of the poor treatment given to returning troops.
The Daily Mirror calls for medals for troops killed or injured in action.
n its support it quotes Col Richard Kemp, who complains that some in the MoD accept CBEs for working behind desks, but are against medals for front-line soldiers.
Hogging the limelight
"Mr Piggywinkle" is how the Sun describes George the hedgehog, who tips the scales to a hefty 5lbs (2.2kg) - four times his ideal weight.
George was handed into Surrey's Wildlife Aid sanctuary by an animal lover who feared he was ill, the Daily Mail says
But it turned out he was just greedy - and has been placed on a diet to bring him down to 1lb 5oz (0.5kg).
But sanctuary head nurse Sara Cowen tells the newspaper: "We might need to find a little treadmill for him."