A Florida man is dead after a brutal attack by an exotic bird at his Gainesville home. Marvin Hajos, 75, was attacked by one of the birds he was breeding after he fell on Friday, April 12, CNN reports.
A cassowary is a large, rare bird similar to an ostrich native to Australia and New Guinea. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has the exotic bird listed as Class II wildlife, according to CNN. That means the bird, which can be as big as 6-feet tall and 160 pounds with claws as long as 5 inches, is in the same class as alligators and and clouded leopards.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office told CNN that the first call to 911 was made at about 10 a.m. local time, and a second call indicated that there was an emergency with a cassowary. “EMS responded to an incident where the caller gave information that an exotic bird had attacked somebody on the property,” Lt. Joshua Crews told local ABC affiliate WCJB.
Law enforcement told CNN and WCJB that Hajos, whose death was an accident, died of his injuries at the hospital.
“[Cassowaries] have very strong legs, kick defense, claws that can literally gut you because they can jump over 4 feet in the air and that can hit anybody in the midsection,” an animal conservationist with Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation told WCJB.
The fate of the cassowary that attacked Hajos is not yet known. According to Lt. Crews, it’ll likely be up to the family. “What they do with the bird is going to be ultimately their decision.”