This is the terrifying moment a circus lion viciously attacked a trainer in front of screaming children.
Hamada Kouta, 32, a well-known performer in eastern Europe, was overpowered by the angry big cat which sank its teeth into his arm and clawed him.
Following the savage mauling in Lugansk, eastern Ukraine, the Egypt-born entertainer manages to fight off the lion which then retreated to its cage.
Describing the attack which was captured on video, Kouta said: “I called up one lion and the second one attacked me from the front.
“The lion jumped at me and bit me - but thank God, not on my neck.
“He immediately let me go. My back, arm and leg were hurt.
“Scars from two claws and one tooth are on my leg, tooth marks on my arm, one 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) deep from three claws on my back.”
Later he said: “Of course, I became lame, it hurts everywhere because these are teeth."
He added: "One tooth was inside the muscle, right there and it is serious" before insisting "but it’s okay."
A mother watching with her two children said: "My heart stopped when the lion pounced at the trainer."
Kouta, who works with ten lions, returned all the big cats to their cages immediately after the shocking attack.
He said: “I calmly called them back because there were children in the audience.
“Of course, I was covered in blood, but I asked everybody to calm down, and started the performance all over again, from the beginning.”
Kouta said his troupe of lions were unsettled because they were made to perform soon after arriving in a new location.
“They did not have time to adapt, because we arrived and immediately began to perform,” he said.
“They were in stress, so it led to attack. They can be moody, like people."
He added that he has “scars everywhere” on his body.
Speaking about his injuries, he said: “Every scar is an experience. I trust my predators more than people.
"But there is a red line if you step over – it may go wrong way.
“When an animal attacks a trainer, it is 99 percent the trainer’s mistake.
“Anyway, they are my children, so I know anything can happen.
“But it will never end with death because they are my children."
Traveling circuses were recently banned in the Ukrainian capital Kiev but rebel-held Lugansk is currently outside the government’s rule.