Lauren Fagen, the 18-year-old Montreal girl who was mauled by a lion, had reportedly been leaning in to give the animal a kiss.
Fagen told ABC News Monday's attack at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa has left her with "huge rips and holes."
The lion -- a 5-year-old named Duma -- reportedly attempted to drag Fagen, who had been volunteering at the centre, into the cage while its mate joined the attack.
"I was screaming," she told ABC News. "Someone tried to pull me out. It didn't work."
A nurse, who had witnessed the attack, is being hailed as a hero for finally driving off the animals with a broom.
Brian Jones, the centre’s founder, told CBC News that she had been warned repeatedly about cozying up to the animals.
“This little girl, she confessed the first day, ‘I’ve come to hug a lion or a cheetah or a leopard. I want to hug them.' I said, ‘You cannot hug no animal. A week later, she’s trying to hug the leopards. She’s chasing the antelope around the yard. She’s trying to hug them. I thought, ‘Goodness me. She’s cuckoo.’”
For her part, Fagen says the lion sanctuary put her in unnecessary danger.
“They should not have put me in a feeding cage where a lion can stick out his arm completely and grab you,” she told CBC’s Daybreak from her hospital bed.
“It’s irrelevant what I was doing — he just shouldn’t be able to grab me like that.”
Despite her injuries, Fagen said she harboured no ill will toward the beast that attacked her.
"If he wanted to kill me, I would for sure be dead," she told CBC News. "Or at least have lost both of my legs. I find it incredible that he didn’t kill me and I love Duma to death for not killing me. He was so gentle for a while."