Man has arm almost ripped off after trying to stroke lioness by reaching into enclosure

Man has arm almost ripped off after trying to stroke lioness by reaching into enclosure
(Source : Getty Images)

55-year-old Pieter Nortje decided to be a daredevil and pet a big wild 'cat' at a game lodge in South Africa.  What ensued, however, wasn't pretty. The careless tourist almost had his arm ripped off by a lioness after he thought it was harmless to stick his hand into the animal's cage to stroke and pet the majestic creature in South Africa. The entire incident was captured on camera and has gone viral.

Nortje was being given a guided tour of the lions while at a game lodge, Tikwe River Lodge in South Africa, where he was celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary when he almost lost his arm. Nortje's wife Ilze managed to get the entire thing on video. In the disturbing footage, the man can be seen stroking the back of a male adult lion's back and also tickling it behind its ear as he tells his wife, "If you bite me, then I'm going to bite you back." 

A young female lioness comes towards the fence as Nortje waves his arms dangerously and says, "Come here lovey, let daddy stroke you." However, the lioness does not seem to appreciate the man's arm and proceeds to dig her teeth deep into his forearm, penetrating it to the bone as she attempts to drag him into the enclosure. In the background, Nortje's wife Ilze can be heard frantically screaming and saying, "It's biting him, it's biting him!"

The lioness held on to Nortje's arm for a full five seconds while slashing his arm with the claws on her left paw. It was all the panicked screams and shouting which distracted the young female and provided Nortje a window to pull back his bloodied arm on the other side of the fence. As reported by Netwerk24, Nortje was rushed to the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein in a serious condition, while suffering from septic shock which is a life-threatening condition caused by severe infection. 

A spokesman for Tikwe River Lodge said that they had been running the lion enclosure for around six years and had not had any such incidents before. They also denied any responsibility for the attack and said, "There are warning signs everywhere. Nortje stuck his hand through the electric fence to touch the lions and was bitten." 


A South African game ranger who was present at another park saw the video and shared, "The man was lucky that the lioness was probably not hungry or not used to killing live prey outside in the wild. Lions are pack animals and hunt as a team so others in the enclosure could easily have joined in and if they had done [they would have] killed him whether there was a fence between them or not. Some people never learn that where wild animals are concerned, keep a distance between them and you."

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 Man has arm ripped off by lioness after he tried to stroke it while his shocked wife looks on