A 75-YEAR-OLD pensioner has been killed by a giant 6ft cassowary in a horrific attack on his farm.
The large flightless animal is considered the most dangerous of all birds and has the power to slice open any predator with a single swift kick.
Marvin Hajos sustained “serious injuries” after a witness reported he was attacked by the bird on his farm in Gainesville, Florida, on Friday morning.
He was taken to a local hospital, fire chiefs said, but later died.
Cassowaries eat only fruit, but each of their feet conceal a “dagger-like” claw on the inner toe than can grow up to four inches long.
The San Diego Zoo describes the birds, which are native to New Guinea and parts of Australia, as able to jump 7 feet into the air and run up to 31mph.
We’re looking to confirm our suspicions that this is a horrible accident for the man and his family
Alachua County Sheriff Lt. Brett Rhodenize
Information from the zoo states that the cassowary is “rightfully considered the most dangerous bird in the world”.
Featherless on their heads, necks and throats, they have bright blue skin with keratin casques, or helmets, covering the heads of all three species.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office is coordinating with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as it investigates the incident.
Spokesman Lt. Brett Rhodenize said: “We’re looking to confirm our suspicions that this is a horrible accident for the man and his family.”
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He said the bird “remains secured on private property at this time”.
The southern cassowary is considered endangered under Australia law and “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, the Miami Herald reports.
To get the mandatory permit, cassowary owners are required to have “substantial experience” and meet specific cage requirements.
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