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Swimmer in Kerry receives treatment after seagull attack

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
The swimmer reportedly needed a tetanus shot after the incident
The swimmer reportedly needed a tetanus shot after the incident

A swimmer in Kerry sought medical aid after being attacked by a seagull.

The swimmer reportedly needed a tetanus shot after the incident which occurred in Fenit last week. 

The attack occurred last Tuesday afternoon approximately 70 metres from the shoreline. Medical attention was sought after the seagull swooped on him and returned a second time. 

The man, who was a visitor to the area, flapped the bird away but blood was drawn from his hand on its second swoop. 

Lifeguards at the shore directed the unnamed man to the emergency department at Kerry General Hospital, where he is understood to have received tetanus shots.

Brendan O’Connor, a water safety officer with Kerry County Council, said this is the first ever report of a seagull attack in decades. 

The county has somewhere near 684km of coastline, one of the longest stretches in the country, O'Connor said. He believes it is part of a pattern of unusual behaviour by seagulls. 

The gull in question was a great black-backed gull, which can have a wingspan of up to 1.7m.

"He broke skin - pecked him - and came back for another bite," O'Connor said.The swimmer was simply swimming and was not doing anything unusual "when the gull swooped on him", he added.

"This is the first time I have ever heard of such an attack by a gull on a swimmer."

He said the man tried to summon nearby lifeguards while attempting to keep the bird at bay. 

Seagull behavior has been a subject of much discussion in recent months after a number of incidents. Two mountain ewes were killed earlier this year in west Kerry while a motorcyclist reported being attacked. 

A woman in Dublin said she had her phone robbed by a seagull who subsequently dropped it into a pond.