'Aggressive' Peacock Attacks Boy, 3, Leaving Him Covered in Blood

A three-year-old boy was hospitalized after being attacked by an "aggressive" peacock at a zoo.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon at Paignton Zoo in the southwest of England, DevonLive reported.

The boy, Ezra Gittoes, was at the zoo with his mother, father and sister. But just one hour into the visit, the boy was attacked by a peacock, leaving him covered in blood.

The boy's mother, Becky Gittoes, told DevonLive in article published on Sunday: "We were sat in a designated park with picnic benches and a climbing frame for kids to play on, it was full of kids. The peacock was roaming around, Ezra was nowhere near it."

"Suddenly, it just charged at Ezra out of nowhere and clawed his forehead. It was horrible. If it had been a couple of inches lower Ezra could have been blinded. There was blood all down his face. He was crying, I was crying, his sister was crying."

A first aid official from the zoo arrived at the scene within a few minutes, but the family were told that the boy needed to be taken to hospital.

However, his mother said staff "didn't seem concerned really."

''My main priority was getting Ezra to hospital as soon as I could, but we were told to inform reception," she said.

The family took the boy to a nearby hospital where medical staff put a sterile strip over the wound and provided him with medication.

"He is now on antibiotics and is going to be left with a scar," the mother said.

Despite leaving her contact number with zoo staff, the mother, who has visited the site several times with her family, said at the time of speaking to DevonLive that no one from the attraction had contacted her regarding the incident.

"To be honest I just feel so angry. As a parent I feel so guilty. Ezra is not going to want to go back there now and he will be scared of animals," she said.

"Something needs to be done. The first-aider told us that it's mating season and the males can be aggressive. If that is the case they need signs up or they need to stop the peacocks from going in the children's area while it's mating season. This incident could have been preventable."

"Peacock" and "peahen" are the terms used to refer to the males and females of three bird species known as peafowls. While "peacock" only technically refers to the male bird, the word is popularly used to refer to both sexes.

Green peafowl are native to Southeast Asia, while Indian or blue peafowl are found across India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The third species, the Congo peafowl, is native only to the Congo Basin in Central Africa. Indian peafowl are commonly found in zoos around the world.

Peacocks are known for their extravagant plumage.

Peafowl, which are members of the pheasant family, can live for 15-20 years, with the larger males usually growing to around 70-98 inches in length, according to San Diego Zoo.

Following the incident at Paignton Zoo, a spokesperson for the attraction told Newsweek: "Paignton Zoo is renowned for its free-ranging peacocks as we've had them for many, many years."

"Peacocks are not known to be aggressive but they can sometimes peck, so we have plenty of signs around the zoo—including in the picnic area where the incident occurred—advising our guests of this and that children should be supervised at all times."

The spokesperson said that it was procedure at the zoo to speak to the staff involved to gather "all of the relevant information" before making contact with guests.

''We are now in contact with the family concerned and hope to see them back at Paignton Zoo soon," the spokesperson said.

"Our dedicated staff care deeply that all of our guests have an enjoyable time whilst at the zoo. The safety of our visitors is always our number one priority, so we are saddened that this incident has occurred."

This article was updated to include additional comments from Paignton Zoo.

A peacock
Stock image showing a peacock with outstretched feathers. A boy was injured after being attacked by a peacock at a zoo in England on Saturday. iStock