An apparently ravenous zebra didn't earn any stripes from a South Carolina gal who got a bite on the neck at a safari park.
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Meagan Sweatman's misadventure at the Topsey Exotic Ranch and Drive Thru in Texas was captured for posterity on camera, and now, has become the latest viral sensation on YouTube, with some 240,000 folks peering in to watch Sweatman get blind-sided by the striped beast.Video: When zebra attacks, woman becomes YouTube star (on this page)
Appearing live on TODAY Friday, a no-worse-for-wear Sweatman told Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales and Al Roker about her family outing gone awry. The 23-year-old recounted that the family stopped by the park's gift shop to buy park-approved food to feed the menagerie of deer, camels, and yes, zebras roaming the grounds.
Sweatman rolled down the car window and found one particular hungry zebra. "I was trying to get a picture with the zebra — he had stuck his head in and got in the (food) bag," she told TODAY. "And I turned my back and he was hungry!"
As the video dramatically captures, Sweatman turned around to talk to the back seat passengers when the zebra nosed into the car and tried to snatch the food out of her hand — but instead, gave her a hickey for the ages.Story: Elephants race, play soccer in Nepal festival
"It bit my shoulder — oh my God," Sweatman shrieks on the video, half-laughing, half-crying. The camera focuses on a nasty blood bruise where her neck meets her collarbone.
Sweatman, who has maintained good humor about the incident, told TODAY when the family returned to the park gift shop to report the attack, they didn't get much sympathy.
"I show this old man — he's working in there," she said. "I was like, 'Look what happened, the zebra bit me!' And he goes, 'Oh, no, he didn't bit you, that was his lips. The lips are real rough and, it just pinched ya.' He gave me some ointment."Story: On your mark, get set, trot! Woman races her pet camel
Sweatman notes that slowing down the video shows that the zebra's chompers — not its lips — are nibbling her neck. Still, after a few days of soreness, she found the video funny enough she posted it online. "We thought it was hilarious," she said.
While Sweatman has had to endure a few rude messages on the comments section of YouTube — and she's also had to dispel false rumors she's suing the park and that she was actually taunting the zebra with a bag of chips — she's amused by her newfound viral fame. "It's crazy," she said.
And she carries with her an important lesson from her fateful trip. "Don't turn your back on a zebra," she said.
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