A freak accident

This was an item on yesterday’s BBC News.

One knows the saying: “Never say never!”

That saying comes to mind when one reads about an attack on a dog in Queensland, Australia reported on the BBC News.

Here’s that item.

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Australia couple injured in ‘freak’ goanna attack on their dog

Goannas can grow up to two metres (6.5ft) in length

An elderly couple has been attacked in Australia by a goanna (a large lizard), as they tried to stop it from savaging their dog, emergency officials say.

The man, in his 70s, was said to have sustained significant injuries and was airlifted to hospital after the incident in north-eastern Queensland.

The woman, in her 60s, was also taken to hospital with an injury to her foot.

The couple’s dog, a long-haired Jack Russell cross, was seriously injured.

Goannas can grow up to 2m (6.5ft) in length, though most varieties are under 1m, and rarely attack humans.

The rescue service described the attack which took place in Flametree near Airlie Beach, as “a horrific and freak ordeal”.

“The man suffered a very serious laceration and possible fracture of his right forearm as well as severe bleeding from his leg wound. He was in considerable pain,” ABC News quotes an ambulance worker as saying.

“The patients are quite lucky not to have been more seriously injured given that goannas can be quite savage,” another ambulance worker told ABC, adding: “It doesn’t happen every day, that’s for sure.”

The dog was earlier reported to have died, but ABC later reported that it had survived the attack.

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Now I wasn’t sure what a goanna was but thanks to Wikipedia (and not the only source), we find:

Goanna refers to some species of the genus Varanus found in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Around 80 species of Varanus are known, 25 of which are found in Australia. This varied group of carnivorous reptiles ranges greatly in size and fills several ecological niches.[1]

The goanna features prominently in Aboriginal mythology and Australian folklore.

Being predatory lizards, goannas are often quite large, or at least bulky, with sharp teeth and claws. The largest is the perentie (V. giganteus), which can grow over 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length.

Not all goannas are gargantuan. Pygmy goannas may be smaller than the arm of an adult human. The smallest of these, the short-tailed monitor (Varanus brevicuda) reaches only 20 cm (8 inches) in length. They survive on smaller prey, such as insects and mice.

Goannas combine predatory and scavenging behaviours. A goanna will prey on any animal it can catch and is small enough to eat whole. Goannas have been blamed for the death of sheep by farmers, though most likely erroneously, as goannas are also eaters of carrion and are attracted to rotting meat.

Most goannas are dark-coloured, with greys, browns, blacks and greens featuring prominently; however, white is also common. Many desert-dwelling species also feature yellow-red tones. Camouflageranges from bands and stripes to splotches, speckles, and circles, and can change as the creature matures, with juveniles sometimes being brighter than adults.

Like most lizards, goannas lay eggs. Most lay eggs in a nest or burrow, but some species lay their eggs inside termite mounds. This offers protection and incubation; additionally, the termites may provide a meal for the young as they hatch. Unlike some other species of lizards, goannas do not have the ability to regrow limbs or tails.

So there you are!

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