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Sea Lion Bites 5-Year-Old's Face

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A sea lion in San Diego bit a 5-year-old who got a little too close for comfort on Sunday afternoon.

The little boy at La Jolla Cove attempted to pet the sea lion from behind when the creature turned around and snapped at the child, according to a local Fox affiliate. The boy suffered a "minor puncture" wound in his jaw, according to the Los Angeles Times. One witness told Fox he heard the sea lion's "roar" when he snapped.

It doesn't sound too serious: the boy's father declined help from paramedics at the scene but took the boy to the hospital to check it out. The incident was reported to the National Marine Fisheries Service, whose responsibility it is to protect marine mammals.

Sea lion attacks are pretty rare, but they can get a little snappier during pupping season. It's a good idea to stay away from sea lions—not just because harassing sea mammals is a federal offense but because they can attack when provoked. Authorities are suggesting you should stay 20 meters from seals and sea lions. This has been a tough season for the sea lion pups, who have showed up in droves on California's shore on death's door.

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