Warning: Graphic images
A marine scientist has revealed the mystery behind the gruesome flesh-eating sea creatures that left a teenager bleeding from both his legs.
16-year-old Sam Kanizay decided to soak his legs at Dendy Street Beach in Brighton, Australia, after being sore from playing football but minutes later, came out covered in blood.
When arriving at hospital, doctors struggled to explain the mysterious injuries so Sam’s father collected the ‘bugs’ and sent them off to researchers at Museums Victoria.
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Museum marine scientist Dr Genefor Walker-Smith examined the critters – after dad Jarrod caught them using a fishing net and a piece of meat – and discovered they were sea fleas, reports The Age.
It’s thought the fleas may have been attracted to the teenager from either a cut on Sam’s skin or by him stepping near a carcass the fleas were eating.
Dr Walker-Smith said:
They’re there all the time, you could put a piece of meat in the water, anywhere in the bay, and you could find them.
I think this is quite a rare thing. I really just think [Sam] was in the wrong place at the wrong time probably.
Dr Walker-Smith believes Sam’s bleeding wouldn’t stop due to an anti-coagulant being released by the fleas, which stops blood from clotting, similar to leeches.
Although this type of flea has always been at the beach, local swimmers have said they haven’t been put off – and nor has Sam.
Sam thought he might have stepped on something sharp, and revealed:
My first instinct was that I must have stepped on a rock, but I realised that couldn’t have been it, because it was evenly distributed over my whole ankle and foot.
The teenager told 3AW Radio Melbourne:
It took a while to get all the blood off and it came back pretty quickly.
It sort of looked like hundreds of little pin holes, or pin type bites, distributed all over my ankle and the top of my foot.
The teenager is said to have spent a second night in hospital following the incident but is expected to be released this afternoon, making a full recovery.