'Let daddy stroke you': Man nearly loses arm to lioness after attempted petting

A Virginia tourist nearly lost his arm after a close encounter with a young lion in South Africa.

Pieter Nortje, 55, stuck his hand through the fence at a game lodge in an attempt to pet the lion, joking he would bite back if she attacked him, the Daily Mail reports.

"Come here lovey, let daddy stroke you," he said to the big cat.

But he didn't get the chance to do much petting, as the lion quickly latched onto his arm and bit right through to the bone.

His wife Ilze Nortje caught it on camera and quickly drew attention to the incident, screaming that the cat was biting her husband.

The lion kept a hold of Pieter for a full five seconds before releasing him after becoming distracted by the screams of onlookers.

Pieter ended up in Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein with a nasty case of septic shock due to the incident, Netwerk24 reports.

Serious cases of sepsis, a precursor to septic shock, can lead to limbs needing to be amputated.

A spokesperson for the game park the couple were visiting, the Tikwe River Lodge, denied responsibility for the mauling.

"There are warning signs everywhere. Nortje stuck his hand through the electric fence to touch the lions and was bitten."

Meanwhile a ranger from a different park who saw the video said Pieter was lucky he was only bitten by one lion.

"Others in the enclosure could easily have joined in and if they had done [they would have] killed him whether there was a fence between them or not."