SYDNEY, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- A sea lion at an Australian zoo attacked and bit an 11-year-old boy who had just finished shaking the animal's "hand," zoo officials said.
Jack Lister of Cairns had been selected to meet the sea lion during an audience encounter at Sydney's Taronga Zoo, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
The animal sneezed on Lister, which got a laugh from the audience, and then handlers told the boy to shake the sea lion's hand and wave goodbye.
As the boy turned away, the animal attacked, biting Lister on the stomach and then again on his back as the boy attempted to get away.
"I had fish guts all over me from when it sneezed on me," he told The Sunday Telegraph.
"I think it smelled me and it wanted to eat me. I was told to wave goodbye, and I shook his hand (flipper), but when I went to walk off he bit me."
Lister was rushed to a Sydney hospital where he underwent abdominal surgery, received a tetanus shot and was treated with antibiotics.
He was expected to be released from the hospital Saturday, and the family said it would not pursue legal action.
The "encounter" section of the sea lion show would be canceled until an investigation into the incident was completed, zoo spokesman Mark Williams said.
The sea lion would not be put down, he said.