Australians tend to roll their eyes when the world obsesses about this country’s dangerous animal kingdom, including its deadly snakes (the deadliest in the world), its tiny and toxic redback spiders, and of course the jellyfish that cause heart attacks.
But on Monday, even the most jaded Aussies found themselves gawking over and swearing about the mysterious creatures that chewed up a Melbourne teenager’s legs.
Graphic photos of his ankles spread across social media.
yikes! Australian teen comes out of the ocean pouring blood. attacked by some tiny creatures. maybe sea lice?? https://t.co/VcF4DGPMha
— Peter Krupa 🌹 (@peterkrupa) August 7, 2017
— JJFH (@JJFHypothesis) August 7, 2017
All that the teenager, Sam Kanizay, 16, said he had wanted to do was soak his sore legs at Dendy Street Beach in Brighton after a football match. But when he stepped out of the water a half-hour later, his ankles were pouring blood.
Doctors and scientists said they were baffled by the severity of the injury.
The leading theory seemed to be that Sam had inadvertently become lunch for hungry sea lice, also known as marine isopods, a group of crustaceans that are the marine versions of slaters and pill bugs that people might be familiar with from their gardens. Sea lice are usually parasites of fish. When they bite humans, they usually just leave tiny pinpricks that can look like a rash.
Sam’s father, Jarrod Kanizay, decided to investigate by dropping a hunk of raw steak in the water where his son was attacked. He posted a video of the result: hundreds of tiny sea creatures feasting on the meat.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Damien Cave and Tacey Rychter