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Toddler falls into jaguar pit at Arkansas Zoo

A toddler who fell into a jaguar pit at an Arkansas zoo Friday morning escaped with non-life threatening injuries after staff members used fire extinguishers to keep the animal at bay, police said.

Sgt. James Sloan, a spokesman for the Little Rock Police Department, told the Los Angeles Times that the child plummeted into the exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo at about 10:45 a.m.

The child slipped under the railing while his father was trying to take pictures of the animals, and fell roughly 16 feet to the ground, according to a police report.

A yellow jaguar and a black jaguar began to circle the boy, causing a panicked scene as several staff members went into the pit after the child and the boy’s relatives threw items at the cats.

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One of the cats placed its mouth around the neck of the child, who also suffered a bite wound to the foot, according to the police report. Several of the boy’s family members and other onlookers also threw a hose and a camera bag at the animals, while staff members raced into the pit with fire extinguishers, according to the police report.

Eventually, staff members used a ladder to rescue the child, according to the report.

Sloan told The Times that staff members have been trained to spray animals with fire extinguishers if a visitor enters an exhibit. Calls to the zoo seeking comment were not returned.

The boy was taken to an area hospital and treated for a skull fracture and “minor puncture wounds,” according to the police report.

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