5 Horrifying Animal Attacks That Hardly Seem Possible
Despite what you might take away from David Attenborough's calm, reserved narration over footage of penguins complimenting each other, nature is wild and pissed off just all the time. And while you think you know what would happen to a human if they taunted a pack of wolves or tried to ride an alligator, animals can attack in ways that would seem ridiculous in a SyFy original movie. For instance ...
Giant Snakes Can Devour People Whole
In Indonesia, people like Wa Tiba have a lot to deal with, like earthquakes, brutal dictators like Suharto, and apparently being eaten alive while gardening. Going out to hoe weeds at the corn plantation near her home on Sulawesi Island, Wa Tiba ended up going headfirst down the gullet of a 23-foot reticulated python.
She was dragged off, leaving only footprints, a machete, a flashlight, and her slippers behind as clues. Of course, this was a reptile that's longer than a London bus with a human-sized swell in its belly, so it shouldn't be difficult to find. And it wasn't, as villagers tracked it down the next morning about 50 yards from the garden where Wa Tiba had gone missing. They hacked the snake open and found the woman's body, with even her clothes still intact.
If that sounds like a grossly implausible urban legend, you should know that this is absolutely a thing that happens. Reticulated pythons kill their prey by constriction, and then unhinge their jaws to swallow up meals that are much wider than themselves -- pigs, dogs, primates, and yes, humans.
Just a little over a year before Wa Tiba's death, a man named Akbar Salubiro was also swallowed whole by a massive python. He was harvesting palm oil on his family's plantation, and villagers discovered him by the cartoonish outline his boots made in the snake's stomach (no, I'm not joking). If you're still not convinced, you can go watch videos of these people being hacked out of the bellies of the snakes, if you're into that kind of thing.
Related: The 5 Most Insane Ways People Survived Animal Attacks
A Man's Nude Corpse Was Discovered In A SeaWorld Orca Tank
Daniel P. Dukes -- who lived in, of course, Florida -- had a past as a drifter and a Hare Krishna. Instead of getting up early for religious services and working in the communal garden, he reportedly meditated by himself and spent his days rocking out to Metallica in their temple, presumably honoring Krishna with sweet air guitar solos. But honestly, the guy could have cured cancer and would still mainly be remembered for the way he died.
He decided to hide out in SeaWorld Orlando until past closing time. You would assume that one of the most famous parks in the world would have stronger security measure to protect both its guests and its animal attractions from, um, any new tenants, but somehow Dukes got past their alleged bevy of night handlers and cleanup crews. He wasn't spotted by any camera, either above or under the water, while experiencing the joys of Tillikum, a star killer whale.
To be fair to the whale, it's hard to know what exactly happened that night. When Dukes' body was found nude and draped across the whale's back the next day, it was at first passed off as a drowning, as if the whale merely toyed with the corpse afterward. Then the medical examiner discovered that Dukes had signs of trauma, including chunks of missing flesh. And oh yeah, his genitals had been torn open like a pit bull's favorite tennis ball. Again, we don't know what happened, and probably don't want to know.
What we do know is that Dukes was found in a severe stage of rigor mortis, which raises its own issues. It meant that not only had none of SeaWorld's ridiculously on-the-ball team of keepers seen him sneaking through the park after closing, but they also hadn't noticed the corpse in Tillikum's tank for hours, even though the whale was wearing the guy like a damned feather boa. So while it's easy to leave this story thinking "Shouldn't have fallen into the pool, idiot," maybe the ridicule should be reserved for a park staff that doesn't even notice the surprise addition of a dead human body to their exhibits.
A Marlin Just Jumped Out Of The Water And Stabbed Some Dudes
Brothers Quenton and Nathan Peck were fishermen from New South Wales, Australia, which seems like a pretty obvious occupation to have in that continent. As it's known for some of the deadliest spiders and snakes and crocodiles on Earth, it's easy to see why a hobbyist might take to the sea, as it's a rare case of the ocean being less Lovecraftian than the land. One day, though, the brothers became the catch of the day, as a 200-pound marlin spontaneously leapt into their boat, spearing one and smashing into the other.
In a fighting game, the person playing as the marlin would hear a narrator say something like "C-C-C-COMBO!" But the brothers, who were with a friend, didn't have time to think about how fucking gnarly it probably looked. Nathan raised his arm to shield his face, which caused the marlin's snout to spear him through the tricep and out the shoulder blade. The lower jaw of the marlin clipped Quenton's arm, shearing the tendons and shattering the bone before knocking him to the deck. Then, almost as soon as it had appeared, the marlin was over the back of the boat and back in the water.
Luckily, their friend was able to steer them into the harbor, where an EMT crew was ready to take Quenton to the hospital by helicopter. And not to lean into Australian stereotypes too hard or anything, but Nathan went to a local pub after he saw his brother get all sewn up. I think "battered by a surprise fish that's larger than a man" deserves at least one free round.
Related: 5 Super-Adorable Animals That Can Kill The Hell Out Of You
A Woman Was Crushed By Her Own Camel, And Everyone Thought It Was Hilarious
Pam Weaver was an Australian collector of exotic animals, so her 60th birthday present seemed pretty fitting at the time: a camel. Why a camel in particular, you might ask? Because her family found a llama or an alpaca to be too expensive. A camel is more exotic, anyway.
Not long after being given the camel, it began to chase the family goat around the farm, trying to smoosh the bleating thing under its body weight, which is apparently a thing that camels do. In a horror film, this would be foreshadowing. The 330-pound camel then went after Weaver. It stomped on her head and laid on her, killing her, with authorities guessing it either suffocated her or caused a panicked heart attack.
But here's the part that caused this to make horrible, horrible headlines. A camel expert said the behavior was reminiscent of "a bull in season," and a police constable said they suspected it was "maybe even a sexual sort of thing," with a further expert saying it definitely was. And that was all she wrote. The vaguest possibility of a horny camel taking an interest in some poor woman brought out the worst in headline writers. Thus, when you google "Pam Weaver" and "camel," the very first result is "Humped to death by a pet camel."
Related: 5 Terrifying Serial Killers Who Happened To Be Animals
A Woman's Pet Chimpanzee Ate Her Friend's Face
WARNING: This story is horrific.
Sandra Herold had raised Travis the chimp for most of his life in Stamford, Connecticut. Travis ate at the dinner table (complete with a fine glass of wine), was a fan of baseball, liked to paint, and even bathed with Herold, which ... sure, I guess so. The chimp had been mostly well-behaved throughout his 14 years, and was beloved in the neighborhood. Then one day in 2009, Travis threw a fit, and Herold called her friend Charla Nash to help.
When Nash arrived to aid her friend, things went from bad to worse. Turning on Nash, Travis started doing things you probably didn't know a chimpanzee could or would do. He first tore off her hands with his teeth. Then he moved onto her lips, eyelids, eyes, and nose. Facial bones were destroyed, and doctors would later have to reattach her jaw. She suffered brain damage.
Herold phoned the police, who initially took the call to be a hoax before her screams of "He's eating her!" got through to them that maybe, just maybe, the only woman in town who owned a chimp and was screaming bloody murder about him might not be kidding. She then grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed the chimp over and over before the police arrived. Once they did, Travis approached the squad car, opened the door, and bared his mouthful of bloody fangs. The cops shot him dead.
Herold died in 2010, the year after the incident, of an aneurysm. As for Nash, her wounds were so gut-wrenchingly horrific that the hospital had to provide counseling for the people who initially treated her. She later got a couple of transplanted hands that had to be removed again due to complications, and a transplanted face that seems to be doing OK. She won $4 million in a lawsuit against Herold's estate, and has since has gone to Washington to advocate for laws to make it harder to own primates as pets. She makes a pretty convincing case, even without having to say a word.
Andrew McRae has books and eBooks available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He can also be found on Instagram and Facebook, as well as writing for Lewtonbus.
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