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A grandmother was left with blood gushing from her head after a crazed seagull swooped down and clawed her as she walked home on Wednesday.
Brenda Thrumble said she resembled ‘something from a Freddy Krueger film’ as a result of the vicious attack.
The 66-year-old was caught off guard by the surprise attack and forced to hide behind a bush in order to escape the gull’s wrath.
In the aftermath of the attack, Mrs Thrumble had to get a tetanus injection on the advice of doctors to avoid suffering a bacterial infection from the bird’s claws.
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.
The mum-of-three said: ‘I was walking along, minding my own business when suddenly something went for my head.
‘It came at me from behind so there was no way of expecting anything, it just went ‘whack’ on my head.
‘I put my hand on my head and blood was coming out profusely. I thought ‘oh my gosh’ that’s a lot.
Brenda Thrumble, 66, was left bleeding heavily from her head after a seagull attacked her with its claws
‘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.’
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.’
After reaching safety, Mrs Thrumble was assessed by paramedics and her head wound was cleaned.
Mrs Thumble said she will now be ‘very cautious’ around seagulls following the vicious attack.
Thrumble had been on her way home in Broadstairs, Kent, when she was attacked and was forced to hide in a bush to get away from the bird
She added: ‘It’s hard to say to people to be careful as it came at me from behind. It’s hard to know how to warn people to avoid it happening to them because it came from nowhere and was so sudden.
‘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.’
Mrs Thrumble did not need stitches for her head injuries, but did have a tetanus jab.
Due to a two-week wait at her doctors’ surgery, she was forced to spend £35 for a injection at a nearby pharmacy.
Since lockdown, some residents have seen an increase in gulls feasting on other birds and rats – after scraps of food left by humans decreased during the pandemic.
Bloodthirsty gulls have been spotted attacking and pecking to death helpless pigeons along London canals as well as carrying off rats to eat.
Last July a seagull was seen swallowing a pigeon whole in a playground in Brighton, East Sussex.
Yorkshire residents in seaside towns were also warned by the council to watch out for seagulls left hungry for food during lockdown as they might become more aggressive.
According to the RSPCA, gulls that swoop are usually trying to protect chicks that have fallen out of or left the nest.
The reason for the seagull attack was likely because it was trying to protect chicks that had fallen out the nest or were flying nearby
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’.
The RSPCA argues culls should only be considered if there is a serious problem and non-lethal means are ineffective or impractical.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, gulls can’t be killed unless they’re being controlled under the terms of licences issued by Natural England or Natural Resources Wales.
According to the RSPCA, controlling gulls under licence can only be done for specific reasons – for example to protect public health and safety.
The charity added: ‘However, it remains illegal to do anything that will cause unnecessary suffering to the birds and the conditions specified on each licence must be followed.’