It's April, and everyone wants to get outside and enjoy the weather. If you're human, that is. If you're an animal, chances are you've just finished migrating or hibernating or doing whatever grueling, boring thing your species does to cope with the cold months. Which means you're probably cranky, tired, hungry -- and ready to take it out on the first unsuspecting biped that blunders into your territory.
Think it can't happen to you? Then consider the following ...
Seven Golf Course Animal Attacks
1. During the late 1990s and early 2000s dozens of golfers were harassed and/or injured by an overprotective red-tailed hawk that nested near the Village Greens Golf Course in Woodridge, Illinois. Attacks, not surprisingly, were most frequent and ferocious during the spring nesting season.
2. Groundskeeper George Petta was working near the 17th hole of the Crystal Springs Resort golf course in New Jersey when he suddenly realized he'd been joined on the links by a large black bear, which cuffed him across the face and then wandered off. Remarkably Petta not only survived the 2006 encounter, he went back to work the same day. "Don't go looking for your ball in the woods if you don't have to," the club superintendent advised members.
Just take a penalty stroke or a mulligan or whatever it is golfers do when they can't locate their ball. No one will think less of you. 'Cause it's a BEAR, dammit!
3. Plenty of golfers have regular run-ins with geese, but none quite as spectacular as that of Swedish pro Joakim Haeggman. While holding a one-shot lead at Spain's Andalucia Open in 2007, he was set upon by an irate goose at the 18th hole (his ninth). "The goose came over to me and at first I laughed about it," he said, post-brawl. "But when I put my head down it wanted to have a go at it and I had to give it a slap across the face, I had no choice." Haeggmann, understandably rattled, lost the tournament.
4. In October of 2009 a 77-year-old man lost an arm to an alligator at South Carolina's Ocean Creek Golf Course. The 10-foot saurian lunged out of a nearby pond when the unlucky duffer leaned down at the 11th hole to pick up his ball. His golf partners fought it off and called 911. A similar encounter happened in 2007 at the Lake Venice Golf Club in Venice, Florida, when the unfortunately named Bruce Burger was set upon by an 11-foot gator as he tried to retrieve his ball from a pond boasting a very conspicuous "Beware of Alligator" sign. Burger survived, and managed to keep all of his appendages.
5. In May of 2011 a thief wearing a black mask terrorized the Sandridge Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida, stealing purses and other valuables from golfers. An investigation by groundskeepers revealed the crook to be a kleptomaniac raccoon. Two purses, some golf balls and empty food containers were discovered in its den.
6. Golfer David Bailey was playing a round at Ireland's Craddoskstown Golf Club in County Kildare when a rat ran up his trouser leg and peed on him. The rodent's urine was infected with deadly Weil's disease, which killed Bailey a few weeks later.
7. A woman named Annetjie Mienie was shooting home movies at South Africa's legendary Skukuza Golf Course when a female hippo residing in an on-course pond lunged out of the water and killed her. The hippo, nicknamed Mercy by the course staff, was allowed to live.
... Plus One Stuffed Animal Attack
In May of 2011 someone spotted what looked like a large tiger crouching near the Country Golf Club in Hampshire, England. A capture team from the local zoo was quickly dispatched, along with a police helicopter. However, when the chopper's downdraft knocked the "cat" over, it was soon realized that the fierce jungle predator was, in fact, a large stuffed toy.
And if you think the furry little killing machines won't follow you indoors then I respectfully submit the following:
When Animals Attack Wal-Mart Shoppers
A Louisiana woman named Rebecca White sued the retailer after encountering a large South American rodent called a nutria while shopping in an Abbeville, Louisiana, Wal-Mart. Apparently the animal, which has beaver-like buckteeth and can grow as large as 18 pounds, was called Norman and served as the store’s unofficial mascot. The woman claimed that Norman darted from behind a rack, startling her and causing her to hurt her back and foot.
This is a nutria. The teeth are really that color. Seriously.
Twelve-year-old Megan Templeton was stung by a scorpion while rummaging through the seedless watermelons at a Barboursville, West Virginia, Wal-Mart. The one-inch-long creature had hitched a ride in the shipment of Mexican produce. Fortunately this particular type of scorpion didn’t have highly toxic venom. The girl, who sustained an injury similar to a bee sting, was treated at a local hospital and released.
Things got a bit more dicey for Jeriel Joiner. While shopping at a St. Augustine, Florida, Wal-Mart, he reached in among some potted plants in the garden center to grab a baby bottle dropped by his infant son. What he got instead was a bite on the finger from a pygmy rattlesnake. Joiner survived, but doctors had to amputate the finger.
Finally, when an emu (a flightless bird that can weigh as much as 100 pounds and stand six feet tall) showed up in the parking lot of a West Bend, Wisconsin, Wal-Mart, the quick-thinking staff corralled it with shopping carts and called authorities. A manager fed it grapes and apples to keep it calm until help arrived. Turns out it escaped from an emu ranch (there are such things) two miles away.