This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO – A five-year-old was bitten on his face by a sea lion Sunday around 1:30 p.m. at La Jolla Cove.

According to witnesses, the boy tried to pet the sea lion, and the sea lion snapped back its neck and lunged at him. People who saw it happen said the boy approached the sea lion from behind. The boy was taken to the hospital with minor injuries

Lifeguards it is rare for sea lions to bite people, but they may be more easily provoked during pupping season.    At least 2 sea lion attacks have been reported in the last 3 months, possibly because there have been more sea lions on the beach, lifeguard Lt. John Sandmeyer said. People should stay 20 meters away from seals and sea lions, he added.