Living in the desert around Arizona or indeed in the Southwest, you're expected to find tons of dirt, rock & cactuses (or cacti if you want to call it). Normally you wouldn't want to miss these prickly plants; the spines (those pointy things) can cause some serious harm if they get lodged inside you. And in one Arizona city, there was one case of a man dying from a saguaro cactus.

Scott Lewis
Scott Lewis

A Sag-whato?

If you've been to Arizona, you're very familiar of a saguaro cactus; they're the largest cactus in the United States & they can reach up to 40 feet tall (the tallest up to 78 feet tall). You can find them anywhere between Arizona & California.

Plant isolated. Carnegiea gigantea cactus

So when did "death by cactus" occur in Arizona?

In February 1982, a 27 year old man named David Grundman, went out to Mount Pleasant, Arizona with a buddy of his, James Sucochi, to go shooting. They two 2 rifles & a shotgun with the purpose of shooting the cacti in the area. They approached a 26 ft saguaro; David pulled out his shotgun & started firing at the plant. Unfortunately he was standing too close, as a giant arm (about 4 ft big) broke off and fell on him; killing him instantly.

The story has become a story shared all over the internet; some people even making a song talk about the event.

There almost was a 2nd "death by cactus"

Believe it or not, over 40 years later there was ANOTHER man who was attacked by a cactus; William Mason of Yuma, Arizona in July of 2012. William was unfortunate enough to have a 16 ft tall cactus fall on him, having over 100 needles stabbing him. After many physical therapy sessions, William was able to recover from this freak accident.

The Southwest's Iconic Saguaro Cactus Threatened By Climate Change
Getty Images

Moral of the story: don't harm the cactus.

It is HIGHLY illegal to dig up, vandalize (and yes shoot) a cactus in the US. So next time you're out in the desert around these green plants, treat them with respect. You never know when they might fight back.

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