Leave it to Florida to have a man killed by a direct descendant of the Velociraptor that also happened to be his pet. Alachua County Fire and Rescue Department reported to the Gainesville Sun that the victim of this deadly attack, whose name is being withheld at this time, was breeding the birds. Initial investigation results conclude that the victim fell somewhere in the vicinity of the bird which led to the attack. It’s unclear if the victim was running or being chased at the time that he fell.
The assailant bird is a member of the Cassorwary bird species similar to the Emu. The giant bird breed grows to be an average of 6 feet in height and can weigh up to 130 pounds. The flightless and brightly colored creature is a native of Australia and New Guinea. Authorities are not releasing any information on how he obtained the animal or if the operation he was running was legal.
Reports are unclear if the victim had neighbors. And if the bird owner did it’s also unclear as to whether or not they knew, according to the San Diego Zoo website, that they were living next door to the most dangerous bird in the world. While the outcome was unfortunate for the victim, it’s unimaginable to think about how this attack would have played out for an innocent jogger to come across a loose feathered killer with a 4-inch claw on each foot. It would have been even more tragic if a child had come across the predator while playing outside.
The cassowary has the ability to “slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick and can run up to 31 miles per hour” according to the information on the zoo website. The website also offers a really interesting insight to breeding the birds. History has recorded zoo hatchings of the bird to be rare and difficult to accomplish.
The website states, “In 1862 and 1863, the London Zoo reported single hatchings, but neither chick survived. It was not until April 1957 that the first successful rearing of a cassowary chick in managed care was reported—at the San Diego Zoo. The father of the baby bird had lived in the zoo for 31 years before the successful hatch! His offspring lived for 15 years. Only one other Cassowary chick has been hatched since; sadly, it only survived one day.”
This rare controlled breeding success and failure process leave many questions for the public like, just where did the victim get eggs? And how was he more successful at hatching them in his backyard than zoos have been in controlled settings around the world? At this time wildlife officials have not made it public what has happened to the bird or if more birds were captured at the scene.