A Florida man was attacked and killed by his own cassowary, a flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea that is called the most dangerous bird in the world.
Police say 75-year-old Marvin Hajos was found seriously injured on his Alachua County farm last Friday morning and transported to a local hospital where he soon died from his wounds.
Alachua County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Jeff Taylor said that the victim was too far gone to be saved despite their best efforts, according to USA Today.
“Our crews worked very hard to give the victim the best chance possible at survival,” Taylor told the media.
Officials said that Hajos owned two cassowaries, but it was not known if both birds attacked him or if only one did. It was also unknown why the birds attacked.
Cassowaries evoke big birds like the ostrich or emus, but is an extremely powerful and dangerous bird that might seem more like a creature from a Jurassic Park film than a zoo. The three-toed beast has sharp talons with a central toe that is more like a sword than a toenail. The bird also has a hard crest on its head that is used like a battering-ram-like weapon against enemies. They can grow up to six-feet-tall and can weigh up to 130 pounds.
In fact, the San Diego Zoo calls the cassowary the most dangerous bird in the world.
“The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick. Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31 miles per hour through the dense forest underbrush,” the zoo says.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that cassowaries are listed as a Class II animal because of how dangerous they are. Other Class II animals include leopards, wolverines, alligators, and other powerful animals.
Officials said that the birds were being kept on private property.
“Sheriff’s Office personnel will continue their investigation and may coordinate with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) if necessary, as the case progresses,” Rhodenizer said. “Initial information indicates that this was a tragic accident for Mr. Hajos and his family.”
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