Gruesome photos show the horrific injuries a tourist suffered after a lioness mauled his arm.
Pieter Nortje, 55, tried to stroke a lion in a game reserve but his partner reacted viciously.
He was only saved from death when a stranger punched her on the nose in Tikwe River Lodge, South Africa.
But the grisly wounds turned septic and medics dash to remove all the poison.
Speaking from his home today in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Pieter said: "I was stroking a big male lion who was enjoying it and then a female came over. I think either she wanted to play or perhaps she smelt one of the cubs on me from earlier on and just bit into my arm.
"She ripped into it as well with her claw and I screamed and I think she got afraid and so did I and then a guy on the game drive came to my rescue and punched her on the nose as I was being dragged in.
"That was the moment that I believe he saved my life as the lioness was so shocked she let my arm go and I was able to pull it back through the wire and stumble to safety holding it to my chest."
Pieter's wife Illze, 50, filmed her hubby petting the lion in the enclosure.
Tikwe River Lodge denied any responsibility saying there were warning signs not to touch or pet the lions.
Pieter considers the horror was an accident and doesn't blame the animals.