ORLANDO, Florida -- A 7-year-old boy who suffered a bruised thumb was the second child in as many months to be bitten by a dolphin at a SeaWorld Orlando attraction, park officials said.
It took two adults to pry the dolphin's mouth open so that 7-year-old Hunter Hovan Quidor's hand could be freed, his mother, Hollie Bethany, said.
The dolphin bite left Hunter's right thumb bruised and swollen. It did not break the skin.
"It felt painful," Hunter said. "He was pressing harder every time I yanked."
The boy, who is fascinated by dolphins, was celebrating his birthday with friends during a sleepover in the Dolphin Cove underwater-viewing area. After breakfast, Hunter, accompanied by a SeaWorld employee, went to pet the dolphins when one bit down on his hand.
"Maybe he thought it was a fish," the boy said.
His mother said she heard the boy screaming and looked up in horror to see his hand inside the animal's mouth.
"It was scary, but when you are a parent you need to be calm," Bethany said.
After the boy got an ice pack to place over his thumb at the first-aid station, he went back to pet dolphins, encouraged by his mother.
"Dolphins are really something he loves and I don't want him to be scared," Bethany said. "It's important for kids to know that wild animals are wild. Sometimes things will happen that will scare you, but you have to give them another chance."
The 3-year-old dolphin bit the boy because it was excited, according to Becca Bides, a SeaWorld Orlando spokeswoman.
"We do have animals that, as animals of any age and even humans, they get excited and get rambunctious," Bides said.
In July, a 6-year-old Georgia boy suffered minor injures when he was bitten on the arm at the same attraction.
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