If you are planning on spending some time by the coast with your family this summer, then listen up! As it turns out, sharks may not be the only dangerous animal lurking beneath the water’s surface; believe it or not, everyone’s favorite “dog of the sea”, the sea lion, may also pose a threat to humans.

Now, let us be clear before we move any further. Theses cute sea creatures are not necessarily a threat on their own, but if you don’t keep your distance, these animals may just try to overpower you. Case in point: this little girl who learned the perils of feeding wildlife the HARD way.

This viral clip opens up on a stunningly warm and clear day in Richmond, British Columbia. Michael Fujiwara is walking on a crowded boardwalk area in the town’s harbor, taking pictures, when he notices that a group of tourists is throwing snacks out to a wild sea lion.

“Huge crowds just started gathering around me; and a young girl came along with her family, and they started feeding the animal,” the bystander remembers. It was then, says Fujiwara, that things took an unexpected turn.

After throwing some bread crumbs to the sea lion, a young girl leans close to the animal, and gets within a couple of inches of being bit. Then, just moments later, the little one sits right near the water’s edge. It is then that the mammal jumps out of the water, and yanks her by the skirt into the murky depths below.

The girl is in the water for a mere seconds before an unidentified man jumps in after her and quickly brings her ashore.

The event happens so quickly, it’s hard to tell what the sea lion’s intentions were, but experts say that this only happened because the animal was being fed.

Robert Kiesman, the chairman of the Stevenson Harbour Authority, says that the reason this big guy got out of hand was because these animals are not meant to be fed by humans. He asserts that the clip actually serves as a good example of what can happen when people get too close to these creatures.


Keep your distance!

While sea lions are rarely considered to be dangerous, they can become territorial if you happen to get too close.

Mike Remski with the California Wildlife Center echoes this sentiment. He writes:

It is important to remember, however, that regardless of how cute and cuddly these animals appear, they are wild animals with the capacity to inflict great harm when provoked. Likewise, we can cause them great harm by approaching too closely and disturbing their natural behavior.

Nevertheless, the expert does admit that it’s not uncommon to see these creatures in the water or even on-shore. If you find yourself close to a sea lion, Remski urges you to stay at least 50 feet away from the animal at all times.

If you feel that it may be stranded or injured, contact your local wildlife authorities, even if the situation seems dire. Do not attempt to feed, pour water on, or coax it back into the ocean; you may end up doing more harm than good!

Now that you know how to handle yourself around these animals, let’s watch and see this little girl learn her lesson. To witness this close call for yourself, be sure to click on the video below.

What do you think of this girl’s close encounter with a sea lion? Would you let your children get this close to wildlife? Have you ever come across a stranded animal? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!