A 16-year-old named Sam Kanizay decided to take a dip in a Melbourne beach. Australian paper The Age reports that when Kanizay emerged, his legs were covered in tiny pin pricks that were bleeding profusely. The bleeding wouldn't slow, so his dad decided it was time to go to the hospital. Good call, dad.
Since Australia is a terrifying continent full of poisonous creatures that want to kill you, I'm not surprised to hear that there's something lurking in the water. Museums Victoria told The Age that the most likely culprit for Kanizay's truly horrifying experience are sea fleas, tiny flesh eating creatures that live in the water, but generally don't attach themselves to human flesh.
Not because they're picky; we just move too fast. They generally feast on dead fish, but Kanizay had been deliberately standing still to soak his sore muscles after football practice. Obviously, it turned out way differently than he expected.
Since everyone was confused about what in the heck was happening, Kanizay's dad, Jarrod, went back to where he'd been standing and collected some specimens. This dad is truly a hero!
Museum marine scientist Dr Genefor Walker-Smith examined them and said that in general, no one around the beach has anything to worry about. The kid was probably near a dead fish without realizing it, or had a cut already that attracted the fleas.
"They're there all the time; you could put a piece of meat in the water, anywhere in the bay, and you could find them," Dr Walker-Smith said. adding it's safe for people to swim. "I think this is quite a rare thing. I really just think [Sam] was in the wrong place at the wrong time, probably."
Obviously, people aren't being quite so levelheaded about it on social media:
Yeah, I'm adding "bleeding out due to giant sea fleas" to my list of nightmare scenarios.— Nick Mangos (@nickmangos) August 7, 2017
Look, you're probably fine, or your flesh will be eaten. It's a role of the dice we take every time we go into the ocean. Remember sharks? They exist.
Some days you're the tiny sea creatures, some days you're teen legs— Nick Wiggins (@nick__w) August 7, 2017