5-Year-Old Boy Bitten on Face by Sea Lion

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A five-year-old boy is recovering not from a shark bite, but from a facial wound suffered at the jaws of.. a sea lion.

Witnesses at La Jolla Cove Sunday said the boy approached the sea lion from behind and tried to pet it; the sea lion reacted by snapping back its neck and then lunging at the boy, leaving him with minor injuries to his face and a visit to a local hospital.

There’s no shortage of sea lions in California right now; the state is seeing a record number of sea lion pups being stranded after swimming or floating to shore.

At this point, we’re just trying to make sure people are aware that they really need their space; by law, they need to be at least 25 meters away from any sea mammal on the beach,” said San Diego Fire Department Lt. John Sandmeyer. That’s about 82 feet.