Lifestyle & Human Interest

Forget Tigers: Camel Attacks Zoo Worker, Biting His Head and Dragging Him 15 Feet


Most people know that you don’t want to irritate a camel because they might spit at you — but as it turns out, when they’re really ticked off, they can also grab you by the head and drag you around, too.

Roger Blenker, 32, found that out the hard way on Wednesday during a routine activity at Hemker Park & Zoo near Freeport, Minnesota.

Blenker, identified by the zoo as one of the owners but referred to as an employee by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, was moving a camel to be transported to another location when the animal decided it had had just about enough.

The camel — which has not been named or otherwise outed — bit down on Blenker’s head and dragged the employee for about 15 feet, according to the sheriff’s department news release.

Another employee, Seth Wickson, 32, was able to pry open the cranky camel’s mouth with a plastic board, giving Blenker the opportunity he needed to escape. Blenker ran, but as he moved off, the camel turned its attention to Wickson and charged.

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And then the camel bit Wickson in the head, too.

Eventually, men and beast were separated and safe from one another. Wickson refused medical attention, but Blenker was rushed to a hospital in St. Cloud by Life Link Helicopter, according to a report from the sheriff’s office.

“At 2:37pm today during normal zoological operations there was an interaction between one of our owners and a camel,” the Hemker Zoo & Park posted on Facebook following the incident.

“Our owner did sustain minor injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. The camel was not injured during the interaction and remains in good health. We thank you all for your continued support.”

Thankfully, the injuries were minor and Blenker was out of the hospital the next day.

“We wanted to give everyone an update on yesterday’s interaction,” the zoo posted in an update on Thursday.

“The owner was discharged earlier today and is going to have a full recovery. The camel is doing well with no injuries and is enjoying the beautiful weather.

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“We thank everyone for reaching out, prayers and support. We will continue to be a family fun destination for Minnesotans.”

The zoo also assured guests in the comments that “appropriate barriers” were in place “to ensure safety for everyone.”

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