'He broke skin - pecked him - and came back for another bite' - seagull attacks swimmer in Kerry
Published 05/08/2015 | 08:17
A man had to receive a tetanus shot after being attacked by a seagull while swimming in Co Kerry, it has been reported.
RTÉ reports that the man was in the sea at Fenit, about 70m off the shoreline, when the seagull swooped down and pecked at him.
The man, who is said to have been visiting the area, fought off the wild bird but it returned to attack him again and drew blood from his hand.
The incident happened in the afternoon of Tuesday of last week and the man was directed by lifeguards to Kerry General Hospital, where it is reported that he received tetanus shots.
Brendan O'Connor, Water Safety Officer with Kerry County Council, said that this the first time an attack of this sort has been reported in the 40 years that he has been involved with beach and coastal activities.
"This is the first time I have ever heard of such an attack by a gull on a swimmer," Mr O'Connor said.
"He broke skin - pecked him - and came back for another bite."
Mr O'Connor said that the gull in question was a great black-backed gull.
The bird can have a wingspan of up to 1.7m.
The attack is the latest incident in series of aggressive behaviour being displayed by seagulls in Kerry and the rest of Ireland.
Last month, seagulls were reported as attacking animals and people, stealing food and phones from people's hands, and displaying other aggressive behaviour.
In Britain, seagulls have been reported as killing household pets and attacking pensioners.
The behaviour has led to politicians in Ireland and Britain to call for a cull of the aggressive birds.