A 15-year-old schoolboy is recovering in hospital after he was attacked by his uncle's pet lion.


The lioness, called Maya, pounced on the boy as he returned home from a workout in the city of Saratov in south-western Russia's Saratov Oblast region.


Maya's owner, Eghish Eroyan, 28, insists the lion is friendly and would only have been playing.


But the teenager, named only as Diniil S., suffered wounds to his buttocks, hips and right hand.


Diniil was coming home after sports practice when Maya got out of the house when she squeezed through the door as the family's pet dogs were being let out for a run.


The boy, shocked at the sight of the lion bounding towards him, panicked and ran. Maya quickly caught him up and brought him down.


Mr Eroyan, who was given the lion as a gift by a friend and who was out at the time, insisted that she was not trying to harm the youngster.


"She really loves people. The way I see it, she got really happy when she saw the boy and rushed to play with him," he said.


"She has had her claws cut, so she just threw the guy down with her weight, but she could not scratch him.


"Immediately my sister ran out, she saw that the child had scratches, not from the lioness, but from the fall."


Mr Eroyan says he also has two dogs and that all of the animals eat from the same bowls and sleep in the same bed as him.


He has posted videos on social media of the lion on his back, licking his face, and in the back of a pick-up truck with his dogs.


Mr Eroyan has been asked to provide proof that his exotic pet has all of the necessary paperwork and is not dangerous.


Netizen 'Peter Lowenbrau Griffin' commented: "Stunned! How can you trust such predators with ordinary people?"

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Author: Zoey McDougall

Zoey McDougall
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