Kaunas student attacked by giraffe

  • 2007-05-09
  • By Arturas Racas
VILNIUS - A twenty-two year old student from Kaunas has learned the hard way that giraffes, usually seen as kind and docile animals, can become dangerously irritated if they don't get enough sleep. Ruta Greiciute ended up in the hospital on May 6 after her late-night date with Solutas, a 9-year-old male giraffe at the Kaunas Zoo, ended in disaster.

Doctors treated her for fractures of the cheekbone, nose and collarbone, all from Solutas' kicks.
Kaunas police are still investigating how Ruta and her three friends entered the zoo and how they managed to hurdle the almost 4-meter fence to the giraffe enclosure, the Lietuvos Rytas daily reported.
But the fact is that all four, apparently under the influence of alcohol and looking for adventure, ended up in Solutas' yard.
Evidently the giraffe wasn't pleased by the surprise visit and attacked Greiciute. Her male friends escaped confrontation with their double-size foe and ran away, leaving Greiciute lying in a pool of blood. They called in paramedics, who rescued the young woman and took her to the hospital.

Greiciute was released from the hospital on Tuesday, but will require further surgery for her injuries.
Angele Grebliauskiene, head of the hoofed animals department at Kaunas Zoo, said that Greiciute was lucky, as an irritated giraffe might have kicked her to death.
Lietuvos Rytas said that the giraffe might have been on edge due to the noise coming from nearby Kaunas Technology University on Friday and Saturday, when the Communications and Electrotechnics faculty was having its annual fest.
The daily said that the same fest in 2006 irritated lions at the zoo to the point where caretakers were forced to treat them with sedatives.

Unfortunately for Greiciute, Solutas hadn't been given such pills.
The incident marks the Baltics' most bizarre zoo-related story since 2004 when a 31-year-old man, also under the influence of alcohol and on zoo premises after closing, had his hand bitten off by a polar bear at the Tallinn Zoo. He had tried to feed the bear a cookie he found in his pocket.