An unfortunate incident happened over the weekend at Barn Hill Preserve in Ethel, Louisiana when a hyena bit a boy who stuck his hand into the animal's enclosure.

Amber and Joshua Laviolette were also visiting the small-scale nature preserve with their toddler when they witnessed the bite happen. They followed a group of other families down an unmarked path to the hyena exhibit.

The couple watched as a boy reached his hand through a chain link fence into the habitat and pet the animal. They said the hyena (named Mowgli) then latched its mouth onto the kid's arm.

"The guy next to us started screaming. The hyena had grabbed a hold of his forearm right here," Amber Laviolette told Baton Rouge TV station WBRZ.

Joshua grabbed the boy and tried prying the animal off of him.

"I just basically went behind him and tried to grab his arm to try to pull it back forward, and the hyena had him pretty good," Joshua said.

Amber said she heard bones in the boy's arm cracking during the struggle. She called for help while another person nearby who saw the incident happen started screaming, and the animal eventually let go and ran away.

Barn Hill Preserve
Barn Hill Preserve

Hyenas in the wild are known for extremely strong bites.

According to Wikipedia: "The strength of their jaws is such that both striped and spotted hyenas have been recorded to kill dogs with a single bite to the neck without breaking the skin."

Barn Hill Preserve released a statement about the incident. They said the attack happened on the back side of the enclosure and that area is blocked by multiple gates and bushes.

Apparently, guests said they didn't see any signage and simply followed other families to the area.

keep out sign

While Barn Hill Preserve offers encounters with kangaroos, otters and sloths, they do not allow for guests or even employees to touch the hyenas at the facility.

Mowgli the hyena is now under quarantine for 60 days. He will get daily observations for neurological symptoms during this time.

According to Barn Hill, the victim sustained minor bruising and scraping.

The age of the victim was not released.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins



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