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Do not pet the animals!

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Man Pets Jaguar, Pays with His Finger

Don't mistake the jaguar for a 'pretty kitty'.ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Reuters) - A New Mexico man made a hasty exit from a zoo after climbing close to a cage to illegally pet a jaguar, but police were able to track him down by the severed finger he left behind.

The shriveled and dried finger from the man's right hand was found outside the cat cage last week by a groundskeeper, Tom Silva, assistant director of the Albuquerque Biological Park, which includes the zoo, said on Tuesday.

The owner of the finger has been identified and is forbidden to return to the zoo, Silva said, adding the park is not planning to press criminal charges.

"I think he's suffered enough," he said.

The man was a frequent visitor and an official zoo member. Eyewitnesses had seen him fleeing the zoo last Tuesday holding his bloodied hand.

The man, who was not identified, said he climbed a steel barrier and scrambled over bushes to get closer to the jaguar to pet it, zoo officials said.

The zoo has a policy of turning to law enforcement officials when contact between visitors and animals turns violent.

"When we find a body part, we are required to call police," Silva said, adding. "He's been summarily banned from the zoo, for the animals' safety and for his own."

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Reminds me of a mini zoo I went to once. You could get right up close to the enclosures - most of the cages were separated from the visitors by two layers of schoolyard fencing, which had maybe a two or three inch gap between them. Not great for taking photos, but otherwise it worked pretty well. (Except that it also put visitors within urinating range for the big cats.)

Best warning signs ever: a silhouette of a human hand, with two fingers missing.

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Chip_Unicorn (Brent Edwards)read storiescontact (login required)

an Unicorn from Seattle, WA

The truth will make you fret.