An Australian teenager was recently shocked to find both of his lower legs bleeding profusely when he emerged from the ocean at Brighton Beach in Melbourne. The teen made the grisly discovery on Saturday after he spent 30 minutes standing in waist-deep water to sooth his legs after a football game.
“I walked out of the water, saw what I thought was sand covering my ankles and lower calf so I just shook it off quite violently, and it came off and by the time I walked across the sand, about 20 meters to put my thongs on, I looked down and noticed that I had blood all over my ankles and feet,” said Sam Kanizay from his hospital bed.
Via Fox News:
The 16-year-old said his ankles were covered in what looked like hundreds of little pin holes.
“I didn’t really know what to think of it,” he said. “It was a bit of a shock and a bit of a random thing to see.”
When he went home, Kanizay tried to wash off the blood, but the bleeding did not stop. His parents then took him to the hospital.
Sam was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, considering: “It kept bleeding for quite a while and it’s still oozing out now, but yeah, it just wouldn’t stop when we were hosing it down, so we decided to go to the hospital,” he said.
Kanizay’s father, Jarrod, said hospital staff had no idea what kind of creature could have caused the injuries. He went back to the beach the following night with a pool net full of meat, and captured the animals he believes could have been responsible.
The tiny meat-loving sea creatures have marine experts baffled. Were the culprits sea lice, jellyfish larvae, amphipods, a newly discovered horror, or none of the above?
“We had a few people guessing that it was sea lice, but no one really had any ideas,” he said.
Sam’s father then took a video of dozens of the tiny bug-like creatures chomping on the chunks of meat.
“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” he added.
The 16-year-old was still hospitalized on Monday, but had been taken off antibiotics.
Jeff Weir, from the Dolphin Research Institute, said the likely culprit was probably opportunistic amphipods, tiny crustaceans that latch onto decaying plant or animal matter to help break it down, Sky News reported.
“They are not there to eat us, but sometimes they might take a little bit, like mosquitoes and leeches and other things out there in the environment,” he said.
But Thomas Cribb, a parasite expert from the University of Queensland, said it would be very unusual for amphipods to cause such extensive bleeding.
It’s not a parasite I’ve ever come across,” he said.
Marine expert Michael Brown told Australia’s Channel Seven’s Sunrise program that he believes the small bugs eating the meat in the video could be jellyfish larvae.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
Richard Reina, an expert on marine biology at Monash University, thinks that the flesh-eating creatures were probably sea lice and noted that such attacks are “very rare.”
“When it happens you brush it off, or move, or get out of the water and there’s no consequence, whereas in this case, Sam was standing in cold water for quite a long time,” he told news.com.au.
“He probably thought the pins and needles he described was the cold and didn’t realize there were crustaceans chewing on his feet.”
Then again, other marine experts said that sea lice were probably not the culprits because they are not known for “launching such vigorous attacks.”
It’s all a big mystery for now — which probably has Melbourne beachgoers on pins and needles (no pun intended).