Terrifying moment giraffe plucks toddler from family’s truck at Texas drive-thru safari

A Texas family experienced wildlife a bit too closely when their drive-through safari turned terrifying.

While visiting the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas, Jason Toten and Sierra Robert watched in horror as their toddler was plucked out of their truck by a hungry giraffe.

“So we took a trip to fossil rim today and it was a blast buttttt…. I would discourage you from riding in the back of the truck,” Robert wrote on Facebook, chronicling the unexpected moment Paisley Toten, 2, was lifted by the giraffe.

The family was driving through the park’s safari area where the animals roam free. Before the incident, visitors were reportedly allowed to ride in the bed of a pickup truck as long as an adult was present and all riders could fit inside safely. But the site seems to have updated its rules following the giraffe encounter.

“We stopped to feed the giraffes and I turned around to look out the back window, and I saw the giraffe kind of digging around right there, and then it just grabbed her and I didn’t see her no more,” Toten told CBS affiliate KWTX-TV.

“Paisley was holding the bag and the giraffe went to go get the bag, not get her but ended up getting her shirt too and picking her up,” he explained.

“Soon as she went up her mom just yelled hey – like ‘HEY!’ – and the giraffe just kind of let go,” he recounted.

(Video Credit: KWTX-TV)

And while the toddler was not hurt in the incident, her parents were understandably shaken.

“My heart stopped, my stomach dropped… it scared me,” Toten recalled.

A family driving behind their vehicle captured the moment on video.

“My daughter was recording a giraffe eating out of people’s hands and dipping its head in sunroofs,” Lindsay Merrirmen, who recorded the video, told Storyful. “We were 3 cars behind a red truck and saw the Giraffe accidentally grab a little girl’s shirt along with the food and lift her from the bed of the truck.”

After being safely dropped back into her mother’s arms, Paisley’s parents took her to the park’s gift shop and got her a toy giraffe.

“We go in there and all she wanted was a giraffe toy and a giraffe T-shirt,” Toten said. “We ended up getting her both, we figured she deserved it.”

A spokesperson for Fossil Rim said they were “recently made aware of an incident involving one of our giraffes that occurred this past weekend.”

“The incident was first reported to us on Monday, June 3rd. The safety of our guests and animals is always of utmost importance to us. Although an incident like this has never occurred here previously, we are taking immediate action to make sure it won’t happen again,” the statement read, according to People. “Effective immediately Fossil Rim will no longer be allowing guests to ride through the park in truck beds.”

The park’s website has also been updated and reads, “Effective June 6th, 2024, guests are no longer permitted to ride in the bed of pickup trucks.”

Frieda Powers

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