The giant cassowary bird that killed its Florida owner is up for sale


This Saturday, April 27, a bird will be bid on by the masses, but this isn't your ordinary bird – it is an exotic breed with knife-like talons that can extend to five inches long and a height of up to six and a half feet.

Gulf Coast Livestock Auction will hold the action at 3856 State Road 53 in South Madison. The auction will begin at noon, but don't think about bringing a camera – due to this kind of hype, they are restricted.

The cassowary bird has a violent past – a rerun of Siegfried & Roy's tiger attack, but this time, the deadly attack involves a … cassowary?

Exotic animal collector Marvin Hajos was attacked by his cassowary bird on April 12, and found fatally injured by Alachua County Fire Rescue.

According to an interview with the New York Times, those investigating the incident were shocked.

"I've been doing this for 18 years and I've never had a thing like this. I've had them killed by alligators and snakes but never by a bird like that," said death investigator Bill Grotjahn.

Alachua County Fire Rescue found Hajos fallen between two pens, with the cassowary still "riled up."

Grotjahn told the Times he believes Hajos may have been attempting to check on the bird's eggs, which may have initiated the attack and leaving the collector with fatal wounds. The birds may prove to be a hot auction item, since they produce emerald green eggs.

To see the collector's entire inventory up for auction, including two cassowaries, more than 20 marmosets and a handful of lemurs, visit the Gulf Coast Livestock Auction.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.