SCOTT MCNAUGHTON FAIRFAX MEDIA
Sam Kanizay's wounds were still seeping blood on Sunday 18 hours after he emerged from the water
09 August, 2017, 00:15
I've put meat into a net and they've grabbed on to that like no tomorrow, ' Mr Kanizay said.
Sixteen-year-old Sam Kanizay arrived at a Melbourne hospital on Saturday with his legs bleeding profusely.
Doctors told local outlets that Kanizay has been bandaged, checked for parasites, and given antibiotics. Doctors at the hospital initially could not understand what had caused the sores on the feet of the youngster who remained hospitalized.
Marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith examined a sample collected by Jarrod and said the creatures are naturally-occurring scavengers, which commonly bite, but do not usually cause these kind of injuries.
She believes that Sam might have disturbed a feeding group and while he was standing still in the water, assumed the pins and needles he was feeling was numbness in the cold water - but was probably the animals snacking on him. But post he got the shock of his life when a flesh-eating sea bug attack left him injured. He didn't realise what damage he was doing until he emerged from the water and looked down to see his legs covered in blood.
"As soon as we wiped them (his legs) down, they kept bleeding", he said.
Associate Professor Reina said sea fleas did not travel in a pack, but once a couple began chewing on his feet, releasing some blood into the water, others would have been attracted. She said amphipod bites were common and "normally you would feel them or brush them off".
He added that the creatures cause injuries similar to a graze and the teenager should not be afraid of going back in the sea.
While it's likely the sea fleas were the culprit, there's still room for doubt.
'He must have been very, very cold and he wouldn't have felt it'.
They discovered thousands of tiny bites on the teen's legs, nearly as if he had been pricked with a pin repeatedly.
Mr Kanizay said his son's injury "fascinated" all of the staff working in the emergency room at Sandringham Hospital.
Between deadly spiders and venomous snakes, Australia sometimes gets a bad rap for things that are out to kill us poor, defenceless humans.
A spokesperson from Australia's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning said sea fleas were a healthy part of the ecosystem but can be avoided by wearing a wetsuit, protective footwear, or not standing still for too long.
Amphipods feed largely on dead marine animals such as fish and crabs, and are themselves prey for larger marine animals.
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