Cassowary Attack

cassowary attacking human

The cassowary is the world's deadliest bird. A cassowary attack can result in deep puncture wounds, lashing cuts and lacerations. Its powerful kick with sharp claws can rip a man open. As recently as 2019, a Florida man died as a result of a cassowary attack.

The cassowary is the second-largest bird in the world, and also the most dangerous bird on the planet. It is not naturally aggressive. It is a shy solitary animal that prefers to avoid humans. However, if threatened, it is fearless and will attack.

The cassowary is not naturally aggressive. It prefers avoiding confrontations, especially with humans. But it is fearless and will stand its ground if approached.  If an intruder encroaches on its space, the bird will stretch itself as tall as possible, ruffle its feathers and let out a loud hiss in an attempt to scare the intruder off. If this fails, the cassowary will lower its head and produces a deep booming sound. The pigmentation on its neck becomes much brighter, and its body trembles. It will then attack fearlessly.

The cassowary attacks by jumping up in the air and kicking forward with its powerful legs. Its inner toes are armed with dagger-like claws, which can grow up to 18cm in length. It has a lightning-fast kick, powerful enough to pierce and rip open flesh and severely injure or even kill its victim. Once provoked, the cassowary will keep up its attack, chasing its victims at speeds up to 50kph.

Cassowary feet with dagger-like claws

Statistics show that the cassowary is really more frightening than dangerous. The most recent death by cassowary was in 2019. Before this incident, the last recorded death due to a cassowary attack was in 1926. Then, a teenager attempted to attack a cassowary with a club.

Of the 200 or so cassowary attacks reported in Australia each year, over 70% occurred while humans were attempting to feed these birds. This is because cassowaries become assertive and demanding when they associate humans with food handouts. So don't feed the cassowary!

What is a Cassowary?