A grandmother was left with blood gushing from her head after a seagull swooped down and clawed her as she walked home.
Brenda Thrumble said the attack left her resembling “something from a Freddy Krueger film”.
Caught off guard, the 66-year-old was forced to hide behind a bush in order to escape the gull’s wrath.
Afterwards Mrs Thrumble was given a tetanus injection in case of a bacterial infection.
She fell victim to the angry bird, thought to have been protecting its young, on Wednesday afternoon as she made her way home in St Peters in Broadstairs, Kent.
“I was walking along, minding my own business when suddenly something went for my head,” she said.
“It came at me from behind so there was no way of expecting anything, it just went ‘whack’. I put my hand on my head and blood was coming out profusely. I thought ‘oh my gosh that’s a lot'.
"It had instantly drawn blood, it went at me with its claws rather than beak. There was lots of blood from the claws that had gone straight across my head.
“I looked like something from a Freddy Krueger film. Blood was pouring out, down my face, top and onto my toes. It was a real shock. There were lots of little holes where it had clawed at me, so there wasn’t one big gash. It was a right old nightmare and not a good experience to have.”
Neighbour to the rescue
Mrs Thrumble took cover behind an overhanging hedge before being escorted to safety by a neighbour wearing a motorbike helmet.
She said: “I was frightened to move, and afraid of it coming at me again. I was close to a wall when it swooped.
“A nice man called Aaron on a motorbike came to help me and walked with me to his house. He was wearing a helmet and we got there without the seagull attacking. Luckily everyone was really nice, the neighbours all helped me.”
Mrs Thrumble was assessed by paramedics and her head wound was cleaned.
The force was ‘quite powerful’
She said she will now be “very cautious” around seagulls.
“It’s hard to know how to warn people to avoid it happening to them because it came from nowhere and was so sudden,” she said.
“I wasn’t eating anything at the time. You hear about it happening at the beach when people are eating chips, but I was walking down a side road.
“I presume the seagull was protecting its young, but I couldn’t see any anywhere, I couldn’t see any nests or any babies. I know residents around there have been plagued by them. I’d be nervous of what it could do to a dog or to little children.
"Anyone who was a bit frail could have been really seriously injured or knocked over. The force with which it hit me was quite powerful.
“I decided to cut down a side road on the way home rather than going along the busier high street, but I won’t be doing that again. I’m happy to have lived to tell the tale.”
According to the RSPCA, gulls that swoop are usually trying to protect chicks that have fallen out of or left the nest.
The animal charity said: “They’ll stop when the person or animal has moved away from their young. This behaviour usually only lasts for a few weeks until the chicks have fledged and are able to protect themselves.”
Anyone who sees a nest or chick on the ground and cannot avoid walking close by should “hold an open umbrella above their head to help deter the parents from swooping”.