She took a bite out of crime.
A lioness in a California zoo caught a man by the foot as he allegedly tried to elude authorities who caught him breaking into the facility, according to reports.
Police said Julio Mendez, 38, told them he became nervous when he noticed a man with a towel wrapped around his hand on the streets outside the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Wednesday, so he decided to scale the zoo’s barbed-wire fence.
"He did have to jump over a fence that has a no trespassing sign and had to climb over the barbed wire that was on top of it to actually get into the zoo itself," Lt. Jennifer Horsford of the Fresno Police Department told KFSN-TV.
Zoo security allegedly spotted Mendez walking through the African Adventure area, and he is accused of attempting to climb an 18-foot high mesh fence to get away.
But instead, he found himself an even more precarious situation, as behind the mesh was a pride of lions.
One of the two female lions from the exhibit stood on her hind legs and bit Mendez on his left big toe, officials said.
Officers responding to the zoo at about 11:15 p.m. reportedly found Mendez was missing a shoe and blood soaking through his white sock.
"They are incredibly strong, and they are dangerous,” Chaffee Zoo Director Scott Barton told KFSN-TV. “They have both of course claws and massive canine teeth, and so this person got very lucky about the injuries they received.”
It was not immediately clear which lioness bit Mendez. Each lion was examined by a veterinarian because Mendez was reportedly found to be under the influence and allegedly had drug paraphernalia, authorities said.
Mendez was treated for his injury and was cited for suspicion of trespassing.