Video goes viral of giraffe lifting Texas toddler mid-air at drive through safari

When 2-year-old Paisley Toten reached out to feed a giraffe, he opened wide and hoisted her up.

GLEN ROSE, Texas — A Texas couple got the shock of a lifetime after a giraffe picked up their toddler mid-air Saturday.

The Toten family was at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, where visitors can experience a drive-through safari and feed giraffes.

When 2-year-old Paisley reached out to feed one, a giraffe opened wide and hoisted her up.

“My heart stopped,” Paisley’s dad, Jason Toten, told WFAA Wednesday night.

The giraffe, Jason said, had his eye on the bag of food in Paisley’s hand. Her shirt got caught in the crossfire, and up she went.

“Paisley’s holding the bag of food like this up against her shirt, and well, the giraffes eat the bags too I guess,” Jason said. 

“I reached up to grab her back,” Paisley’s mom, Sierra said. “By the time I reached up to grab her back he had already dropped her out of his mouth.”

Paisley, her parents said, was not particularly impressed by the incident, not until she spotted the gift shop.

“She was like, “the giraffe got my shirt, I can get a giraffe toy!” her dad explained. “We were like, ‘yes baby you can get a giraffe toy.”

Jason and Sierra said they have no hard feelings toward the giraffe or the park.

“We don’t blame the giraffe, we don’t blame the park,” Jason explained.

They chalk it up to an accident, he said, and eventually plan to go back.

Fossil Rim provided the following statement to WFAA over email:

“We 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. Effective immediately Fossil Rim will no longer be allowing guests to ride through the park in truck beds.  Fossil Rim offers a variety of experiences guided by knowledgeable staff so guests can continue to have up-close and memorable animal encounters, and support our mission to save threatened and endangered species.”

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