A three years old boy had to be hospitalized after he was attacked by a peacock at a zoo in Devon.
Mom Rebecca Gittoes, 34 years old, went to Paignton Zoo in Devon Saturday with her partner and two children.
But after only one hour of being there, son Ezra was attacked by the cruel birdie.
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. We were told to take Ezra straight to hospital he is now on antibiotics and is going to be left with a scar.
No-one from Paignton Zoo has contacted us since the attack. There is no signage warning us that the peacocks are aggressive.
Why are they allowed in where children are if this can happen? This could have been prevented.
The zoo has since remarked that there are signs that warn visitors that peacocks may occasionally peck.
Rebecca, who stated that her family regularly visited the zoo, explained how the four stopped at one of the picnic areas of the attraction prior to the attack.
Myself and my husband were sat on a bench with a coffee just watching the kids
There were two peacocks, some kids were looking at them but they weren’t provoking or touching them.
Ezra must have been the smallest in the park and that is why the peacock went for him.
The zoo keepers on the day said the male peacocks are aggressive at the moment due to it being mating season.
Ezra is very shy and timid and didn’t provoke the peacock at all. He was just looking at it a few metres away before it lunged at him.
There was blood all down his face. My husband took charge and a first-aider arrived around five minutes later.
They told us they were unable to help and we needed to take him to hospital. We were told to fill an accident form out at the zoo so we did that and I left my number.
She claimed staff ‘did not seem concerned’ when she logged the incident with the zoo’s reception on their way out to the hospital.
My main priority was getting Ezra to hospital as soon as I could, but we were told to inform reception.
They didn’t seem concerned really. We took him straight to Newton Abbot hospital where they put a sterile strip over the wound.
They told us that as it was an animal attack they were unable to stitch the wound in case there is an infection in there. He is now on antibiotics.
She further added the zoo has not been in touch since the incident.
‘To be honest I just feel so angry,’ she added.
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. He is going to be left with a scar on his forehead as they can’t stitch it. 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 prevented.
A spokesperson for Paignton Zoo said:
Paignton Zoo is renown 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.
When this incident occurred a first-aider attended the child within minutes they acted professionally and provided the appropriate care.
After an incident it is our procedure to ensure we 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 attack comes after a six-year-old girl was left covered in blood after a peacock clawed her nose in the same zoo in 2018.
Photo by Rebecca Gittoes