This is one of those stories you couldn't make up and may think was a spoof. Unfortunately, the deaths of brothers Connor and Noah Barthe
were very real. This prompted not simply an investigation but a debate in Canada; the investigation into how the creature escaped and killed the boys; a debate over the wisdom or otherwise of ordinary people keeping snakes as dangerous as the African rock python in their homes.
Another headline that sounds too bizarre to be true is Eton schoolboy eaten by polar bear, but that is what happened to Horatio Chapple
two years ago. This though was not a domestic pet, as one would suspect; the victim was on a camping trip in Norway when the animal struck.
On occasion, people are killed by zoo animals. Five years ago, a Chinese man was killed and eaten by a tiger at a zoo; he was said to have been mentally ill
, and to have loved tigers. This is far from the first time that a mentally ill person has walked into the clutches of a dangerous zoo animal, but the same report tells of a 6 year old girl who was killed by a tiger and of a boy being eaten alive by a crocodile, all in China. When this sort of thing happens there though, heads roll.
Earlier this year in Cumbria, England, keeper Sarah McClay
was mauled to death by a tiger at an animal wildlife park. This appears to have been a tragic accident.
Among what might be termed off-beat or even weird deaths are those of a man who was trampled by a herd of cattle
earlier this year, and Australian "crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin, who was killed not by a crocodile but in a truly freakish incident when his heart was pierced by a barb from a fish, a stingray
, as he was filming an underwater documentary.
There is though an animal that dwells in our midst, mostly in our homes, that is capable at times of turning on us, and when it does so, the results can be truly horrific. In April this year, an 8 day old baby was bitten by a family pet
An entirely different type of death by dog
was that of 14 year old Jade Anderson. A dog that has access to a baby and kills it might be described as a tragic accident, but Jade was savaged to death by a group of these domestic but obviously wild animals at the home of a friend.
The latest fatal attack on a child happened in Australia
where a 2 year old boy was savaged to death by a mastiff crossbreed earlier this month. An animal like that should never be permitted near children, and some would say it should never be permitted around human beings either.