This Viral Video Shows Exactly Why You Shouldn't Mess With Lions

A lion bit off a man's finger in a viral video that shows the exact dangers of getting too close to certain animals, even in captivity.

Chris Barilla - Author

May 23 2022, Published 12:33 p.m. ET

A viral video has been making the rounds on social media recently showing a zoo attendant at the Jamaica Zoo in Lacovia, St. Elizabeth, petting a clearly agitated lion through a wire fence.

The attendant unfortunately lost his finger.

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That sentence alone is enough to send shivers down many people's spines, but how exactly did it go down? Keep reading for a breakdown of the viral clip.

A lion in captivity
Source: Getty Images

Stock photo of a lion

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A lion at the Jamaica Zoo bit off a man's finger after he tried to touch it.

A viral video (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT), which has been viewed roughly 4 million times just on Twitter, shows an unnamed attendant at the Jamaica Zoo on May 20 as he tries to put on a show with a caged lion for curious onlookers. In the video, the individual can be seen reaching through the cage (yikes) to pat and rub the side of the massive carnivore's head.

The lion appears apprehensive, roaring at the attendant and bearing its huge sharp teeth every time he approaches the cage. After a few attempts by the attendant to feel the lion, the animal seems to grow angrier and latches onto the attendant's finger through the fence.

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A fierce struggle ensues, with onlookers gasping and recording as the attendant attempts to free his finger from the lion's powerful jaw.

(According to Thomson Safaris, a lion's jaw has upwards of 650 pounds per square inch of pressure in its bite. For comparison, the average adult human only has about 150 pounds per square inch of pressure in its bite.)

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When the attendant finally breaks free of the lion's grip, it appears that the lion's bite has severed his right ring finger. At the end of the video, the individual in question is lying on the ground in pain.

According to the Jamaica Observer, which spoke with a visitor who saw it all unfold, things got serious rather quickly.

"When it happened, I thought it was a joke. I didn’t think it was serious. I didn’t realize the seriousness of it, because it’s their job to put on a show," they recalled to the publication, adding, "Obviously, when he fell on the ground everybody realized that it was serious. Everybody started to panic."

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A lion
Source: Getty Images

Stock photo of a lion

"The entire skin and about the first joint of his finger was gone," the guest went on to say.

According to the publication, the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is looking into the situation.

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Their managing director, Pamela Lawson, said (per the outlet): "We will be going down there and I will be communicating with the National Environment and Planning Agency who has oversight over Jamaica Zoo."

In a statement posted after the video went viral, the zoo said that the attendant was a "contractor" whose actions are not reflective of the "safety procedures and policies that must be adhered to at all times at Jamaica Zoo."

Furthermore, the zoo called the ordeal "an unfortunate event that should never have happened."

As for the injured attendant, the zoo stated that it is "doing everything to assist the gentleman in moving forward."

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