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75-year-old Florida man attacked and killed by a dangerous bird he kept as a pet


'When he fell, he was attacked'

Image source: ABC News video screenshot

A 75-year-old Florida man was attacked and killed by a giant exotic bird called a cassowary that the man kept on his property in Alachua.

The bird reportedly attacked its victim, Marvin Hajos, after he tripped and fell Friday at about 10 a.m., the Gainesville Sun reported. Cassowaries are considered by some to be the world's most dangerous bird.

"My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point fell. When he fell, he was attacked," Deputy Chief Jeff Taylor of the Alachua County Fire Rescue Department told the newspaper.

First responders transported Hajos to a local hospital where he died.

Authorities believe the man was possibly breeding the flightless birds on his farm, WOFL-TV reported. At least two cassowaries were found on the property.

What is a cassowary?

Cassowaries typically live in the rainforest in New Guinea and some parts of Australia. The bird can grow up to 5.6 feet tall and weighs as much as 167 pounds, according to the San Diego Zoo website.

Each 3-toed foot on a cassowary features a dagger-like claw that is about 4 inches long. It can slice open its predators with a swift kick, according to the San Diego Zoo website.

Mike Taylor of the Jacksonville Zoo told WOFL the birds are also territorial and protective of their young.

"They are definitely capable of doing some damage," Taylor added.

Cassowaries have powerful legs and can run up to 31 mph through dense underbrush in the rainforest. The birds also have the ability to jump nearly 7 feet straight up in the air and they are excellent swimmers.

What else?

The sheriff's office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation are still investigating the man's death.

The bird involved remains secured on the victim's property, Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Brett Rhodenizer told the Gainesville Sun.

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