The Slatest

Big Flightless Bird With Deadly Claws Kills Owner in Florida

A cassowary and a chicken in a grassy area.
This photo taken on August 23, 2017, shows a cassowary next to a chicken in Sorong’s Malagufuk village in West Papua, Indonesia. AFP Contributor/Getty Images

A large flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea that is considered one of the world’s most dangerous killed its owner in a farm in Florida. The cassowary, which is similar to an emu, killed 75-year-old Marvin Hajos on Friday near Gainesville. The Alachua County Fire Rescue Department said the bird appears to have attacked Hajos when he fell and likely killed him using its long claws. “It looks like it was accidental. 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 told the Gainesville Sun.

Although an investigation has been opened, officials said that it looks like the death was accidental. “Initial information indicates that this was a tragic accident for Mr. Hajos,” said Lt. Brett Rhodenizer, a sheriff’s office spokesman, in an email to the paper. “The cassowary involved remains secured on private property at this time.”

The San Diego Zoo’s website describes the cassowary as dangerous and points out just what makes this bird that can weigh up to 130 pounds so deadly: “The cassowary is rightfully considered the most dangerous bird in the world! Each 3-toed foot has a dagger-like claw on the inner toe that is up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) long! The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick.” Although people eat cassowaries in New Guinea, those who have the bird in the United States are likely to be hobbyists.