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Florida man attacked by water buffalo. OK, not really

By Rich Phillips, CNN
  • Huge animal head fell from wall, pinning man beneath
  • Harris reached cell phone, called for help
  • Harris treated for minor injuries, but feels like he went a round with the buffalo

Miami, Florida (CNN) -- It's not every day that a sheriff's deputy responds to a call on a water buffalo attack, especially in Florida, where they simply don't exist.

But in the Florida Keys, a man frantically called 911 early Friday after the stuffed water buffalo head hanging on his wall fell on top of him as he slept in his living room recliner.

The animal head was so heavy he couldn't move it, but he was able to reach his nearby cell phone to call for help, according to deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

"I was just sitting there and watching the news and kabbam," said Jim Harris, 56, of Islamorada, Florida.

"Then it had me pinned, and that really sucked," he told CNN.

Sheriff's deputies removed the buffalo head so that paramedics could attend to Harris.

"It weighed at least a couple hundred pounds," said firefighter paramedic Kyle Burkel.

"It mostly damaged his pride," said Burkel.

"He said to me, what are the odds of this happening ? I said, '"You were sitting under a buffalo head, so they were probably pretty good.'"

Harris was taken to nearby Mariner's Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and sent home to rest -- on his recliner

On the 911 calls, Harris is heard shouting out his address.

"I'm trapped," he breathlessly tells operators.

"I think a f------ buffalo fell on me," he told them.

Harris, who owns a water filter company in the Keys, rents the home from a friend. He says he's getting rid of the water buffalo head.

"I f------ got my ass kicked by a buffalo, imagine if it was alive,.what they could do. Oh my god," he said.

Today, he says he's feeling the after effects of his run in with this long dead animal.

"My neck, my shoulder, my back, my face. I feel like i've been in the ring with Ali," he said.

Firefighter's say one of Harris' arms was pinned by the huge head.

"He even had a glass of milk sitting on his night stand, and the only thing he could reach was his phone," said Burkel.

Alive, water buffalo can weigh up to about 2,500 pounds and grow to about 6 feet tall and about nine feet long. Their heads including their horns can be about six feet wide. The gigantic animal is native to south Asia, where some still live in the wild, but some are kept in herds all over the world, mostly for meat or cheese production.

"This is karma," said Harris. "Someone shot this thing and now it's payback, but he got the wrong fella. I didn't shoot him."