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Flightless bird kills owner in Florida

A Florida man was killed Friday when a six-foot-tall bird attacked him, according to officials. 


ALACHUA, Fla. -- One of the world's more dangerous birds -- a cassowary -- attacked and killed its owner when the man fell on his property, according to authorities. Its four-inch-long claws were likely the bird's weapon of choice against its owner.

Cassowaries are native to New Guinea and parts of Australia, and are known to attack people and animals if they feel threatened. They are similar to emus and stand up to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 130 pounds, with black body feathers and bright blue heads and necks.

The San Diego Zoo's website describes the cassowary as being "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. Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour) through the dense forest underbrush.”

Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Brett Rhodenizer identified the man as 75-year-old Marvin Hajos. He was the owner of the bird and the farm where the attack occurred.

"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 local media.

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