A teenager who went for a swim at a Melbourne beach and emerged with his feet covered in blood has stumped marine experts.
Sam Kanizay’s legs felt sore after playing a game of football on Saturday, so he decided to soak them at the beach.
About 30 minutes later, the 16-year-old walked out of the water with his feet and ankles covered in what looked like hundreds of little pin holes that were bleeding profusely.
“I walked out of the water, saw what I thought was sand covering my ankles and lower calf so I just shook it off quite violently, and it came off, and by the time I walked across the sand, about 20 metres to put my thongs on… I looked down and noticed that I had blood all over my ankles and feet,” Kanizay said.
WATCH: Australian teen describes seeing feet bloodied after dip in the ocean
Upon returning home, the injuries left his parents puzzled that they decided to take him to the hospital.
“I didn’t want to go inside the house with blood all over my feet, so I called Mom and Dad from my phone from out the front door,” he said. “They came downstairs and my dad sort of just gave me this funny stare, and I gave him a stare because we both just had no clue what was going on.”
“I could tell he wasn’t in pain and he was calm so we stayed calm and we just thought, ‘We’d better clean off this bit of blood,’ and then realized it wasn’t washing away,” said Jane Kanizay, the teen’s mother. “We made the call immediately that he needed to be in hospital.”
Kanizay’s father, Jarrod, said hospital staff had no idea what kind of creature could have caused the injuries.
Jarrod went back to the beach the following night with a pool net full of meat and captured the animals he believes could have been responsible.
He took a video of dozens of the tiny bug-like creatures chomping on the chunks of meat.
“These guys clearly love red meat,” Jarrod Kanizay said in the video, adding that the organisms had devoured pieces of meat within minutes.
“Yeah, maybe don’t go icing your feet there anytime soon, yeah, ’til they figure out what it was,” Kanizay said.
Jeff Weir, executive director of the Dolphin Research Institute, believes the teen may have been attacked by crustaceans called amphipods, which usually eat decomposing plants and animal scraps.
WATCH: Expert says sea creatures that attacked teen likely swarm of amphipods
But Thomas Cribb, a parasite expert from the University of Queensland, said it would be very unusual for amphipods to cause such extensive bleeding.
Meanwhile, marine expert Michael Brown believes the small bugs eating the meat in the video could be jellyfish larvae.
Kanizay remains hospitalized but has been taken off antibiotics.