Jillian Thomas, 8, suffered three puncture wounds on her hand after the aquatic mammal bit her hand in a bid for a piece of fish at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla.
Her parents were videoing the event and posted it on YouTube as a warning to others that feeding animals thought to be tame can be dangerous. Jillian’s father, Jamie Thomas, thought for a moment she was going to be pulled into the pool while up to a dozen dolphins were feeding.
Fortunately, Jillian reeled backward as the dolphin leaped out of the water and her momentum prevented her from going over the side into the pool.
“I thought … I would have to jump in the water and save my daughter’s life,” Jamie told the Orlando Sentinel. “I literally thought she was going to be pulled into the water.”
“We wanted to share this video so others can make an informed decision about whether or not the risks to yourself or your child are worth the experience.”
Like so many people, the Thomas’s thought dolphin were lovable creatures. “I am such an overprotective parent that if I knew my child might get bitten, I would not have even let my daughter do this,” said mother Amy Thomas.
“But I felt safe. Everyone just imagines dolphins as smiling, non-biting animals with knobby teeth. You forget these are wild animals.”
A SeaWorld spokesman said the theme park is reviewing the video and considers the matter “serious.”
Check out the video below; warning it is graphic.