An elderly couple and their dog have been injured in a “horrific and freak” attack by a large lizard.
The 72-year-old man suffered significant blood loss when he tried to break up a fight between the goanna and the couple’s Jack Russell cross in Queensland.
Australian emergency services flew the man to hospital with serious leg and arm injuries after the attack on Thursday afternoon.
His wife was treated in hospital for leg injuries – and their dog Lily was badly hurt.
It was initially reported that the dog had died, but it later emerged she had survived – which the injured woman described as “the best news I’ve heard all day”.
Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Shane Tucker said: “Apparently the family dog went chasing this goanna and they got into an altercation and the gentlemen tried to save his dog.
“His partner was also on the scene and was trying to separate the dog from the goanna as well, and she also sustained some minor injuries to her foot.”
Officials said the man had a very serious laceration wound to his leg that was bleeding heavily, as well as a possible broken arm.
They described the incident as a “horrific and freak ordeal”.
Mr Tucker said the attack could have caused life-threatening injuries and the man was lucky to be in stable condition.
He said that while the incident was “definitely out of the ordinary”, goannas are “quite an aggressive animal”.
Goannas can grow to over 2m (6.5ft) in length and have sharp teeth and claws, but are generally wary of humans and are likely to flee danger, according to Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park.
Attacks on humans are rare – and in January this year, an eight-year-old girl was bitten at a beachside camp south of Brisbane.
It took two people to wrestle the lizard off the child.