This footage shows a fearless zookeeper poking around a fully-grown lion’s mouth and teasing the ferocious animal that he has amazingly befriended.
Newsflash obtained the footage from James Smith, 35, who often films his unusual experiences at the Wild Animal Adventure zoo in the town of Stanton, in the US state of Missouri – where he works.
James said the four-year-old lion’s name is Thanos and he has been raising them from 10 weeks old.
And the video shows the two have apparently bonded so well, that Thanos even seems to be quite done with James’ teasing.
He stands looking totally unimpressed before playfully running away from James, presumably to a place he will no longer be bothered.
In the video, James also talks about how he finds it funny that people sometimes think the zoo workers drug the animals to mess with them.
“He’s completely knocked-out, unresponsive,” James jokingly says while poking inside Thanos’ giant mouth.
James told Newsflash that he has been befriending animals at the zoo for almost 18 years, ever since he began working there.
Another piece of footage shows him going around the enclosure and tapping wild animals on the nose as part of a trust-building exercise.
James says getting close enough to boop the animals’ noses gives him a feeling that is hard to explain.
He described it as “eating your favourite ice cream or doing something you’ve always dreamed of doing.”
“Better yet it’s like winning the lottery every day,” James said.
But he also revealed that he had dodged several dangerous situations over the years, including one time when he almost lost a limb.
He said: “I’ve been in a couple of situations that you could deem dangerous I guess.
“Fed a close call with a hyena that resulted in me losing use of my arm and hand for about a week.
“But I was back in the enclosure the next day, wrestling and playing with them.
“I’ve had close calls with some venomous snakes and some large constrictors as well.”
James explained that he finds passion in what he does because he loves animals and enjoys working with them on a daily basis.