Sea Lion Grabs a Girl Off a Dock, and Social Media Turns on Her Parents

But the internet lit up with scorn for the parents.

This is not the first time social media has weighed in on such matters. Last year, parents of a boy who tumbled into a gorilla’s den at a zoo in Cincinnati received a public scolding after the zoo staff shot and killed the gorilla for fear that it would kill the child.

Attacks by sea lions happen occasionally when humans venture too close.

In 2006, a sea lion bit 14 swimmers and chased 10 out of the water near San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf before the beach was closed. In 2009, a sea lion snatched a 5-year-old girl off the dock of a West Vancouver marina. She surfaced about two meters away with a bite on her hand. And in 2007, a sea lion attacked a 13-year-old girl who had been surfing behind a speedboat in Australia. The girl suffered cuts to her throat and a broken jaw and lost three teeth, but survived.

The mammals are carnivorous but generally eat fish, so are probably not looking to make a meal of a human being. But their bites can be deadly because of the rich mix of bacteria and fungi found in their mouths and on their huge teeth. For centuries, sealers and others who handle pinnipeds have suffered from “seal finger,” an infection contracted from bites or contact with dead seals.

In Saturday’s episode, the sea lion does not appear to have broken the girl’s skin, but she is fortunate that the animal quickly let go. Sea lions can dive hundreds of feet and stay underwater for 10 minutes or more.

In 2015, a seal lion snatched a…

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