Florida Man Injured by Jaguar After Sticking His Hand in Its Cage at the Jacksonville Zoo

A stock image of a jaguar.
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"If that animal would have latched on it would have been a very different situation,” Jacksonville Zoo Deputy Director Dan Maloney said.

A Florida man jumped over the safety barrier and stuck his hand inside the jaguar exhibit at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and was clawed by one of the big cats, zoo officials said.

The twenty-something male, who was not identified, jumped over the gate between the viewing area of the exhibit and fence, according to zoo officials, FirstCoastNews reported.

Trying to get the attention of the big cat, he then stuck his hand through the mesh of the area that separates the Jaguars from the outside, Jacksonville Zoo Deputy Director Dan Maloney told News4Jax. 

“This was an individual that wasn’t using his head,” said Maloney. “Jaguars are really powerful animals. If that animal would have latched on it would have been a very different situation.”

The man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Jacksonville Fire-Rescue, People reported

“He is lucky to still have his hand,” Maloney said 

Some witnesses told the news outlet that the man appeared to be antagonizing the jaguar before he made contact with the animal, News4Jax reported.

Maloney, who has been at the zoo for more than a decade, told the news station that an incident like this was a first for him.

"It never happened in my 11 years here and I hope it never happens again,” he said. “We take painstaking efforts to keep people safe at the zoo.”

The Jacksonville Zoo said on Thursday that it does not intend to press charges against the man, FirstCoastNews reported. 

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