June 19, 2024
Industry News

Texas Toddler’s Airborne Adventure Begins with a Giraffe’s Nibble

A Texas family experienced a moment of concern when a giraffe playfully lifted their 2-year-old daughter into the air during a visit to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose.

Paisley Toten was situated in the bed of a pickup truck on June 1 as her family drove through the wildlife center, known for its variety of exotic animals like giraffes, zebras, and sable antelope that visitors can feed from their vehicles.

While stopped to feed a giraffe, the animal gently grabbed Paisley’s shirt with its mouth, lifting her a few feet off the ground. Paisley’s mother, who was also in the pickup bed, quickly intervened by shouting, causing the giraffe to release the toddler back into her arms unharmed. The video of this incident captured by another car went viral, with the family also recording their own video of the event.

“Paisley was holding the bag, and the giraffe was reaching for the bag, but accidentally caught her shirt and lifted her,” explained Jason Toten, Paisley’s father, in an interview with KWTX. “My heart skipped a beat, and I was terrified.”

After the incident, the family purchased a toy giraffe for Paisley from the park’s shop as a memento.

Initially, park regulations permitted riding in an open truck bed as long as an adult accompanied any children. However, in response to this incident, the park promptly updated its safety guidelines to require all visitors to remain inside their vehicles with doors closed.


Is it safe to feed giraffes at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center?

Feeding giraffes at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is generally safe under the supervision of park staff. However, visitors should always follow the guidelines provided to ensure a secure experience.


The giraffe lifting incident at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to safety rules when interacting with wildlife. While this unexpected event may have caused a moment of panic, the quick response from Paisley’s mother and the park staff ensured that the toddler remained unharmed. By updating their safety regulations, the park aims to prevent similar incidents in the future and promote a safer environment for both visitors and animals.

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