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group of otters

When otters attack! Whenever I hear otter, I think of Pip and Pop, the cute, purple puppet otters who appeared on the children’s television show Bear in the Big Blue House in the late 90s. They are best friends and love playing together but always get into mischief. I don’t believe they would ever think of hurting anyone.

However, one woman was airlifted to a hospital after being attacked by a group of river otters on the Jefferson River in Montana on Wednesday, August 2. 

Three women, who have not been identified, were rafting on the river when the otters attacked them. 

The women were able to make it to shore and call 911, where emergency responders met them. The otters reportedly bit the women on their legs and arms, and one woman suffered a puncture wound to her face and arms. All three were eventually treated in Bozeman.

The cause of the attack is not yet known. However, otters are known to be territorial and may have attacked the women because they felt threatened.

This is one of the first times that there has been a reported otter attack on humans in Montana. However, there have been other otter attacks in the United States, including one in California in 2016, where a woman was bitten on the face.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks commented: “While attacks from otters are rare, otters can be protective of themselves and their young, especially at close distances.” “They give birth to their young in April and can later be seen with them in the water during the summer. They may also protect food resources, especially when they are scarce. Otters are members of the weasel family.”

They also noted that visitors should give otters and all wildlife plenty of space and “keep a wide distance to avoid dangerous encounters and reduce stress on the animals.”

“In drought conditions, low water levels can bring recreationists closer to water-dwelling wildlife,” the release added. “Being aware and keeping your distance can help avoid dangerous encounters, reduce stress for wildlife, and promote healthy animal behavior.”

The agency also suggested if an otter attacks, “fight back, get away and out of the water, and seek medical attention.”

Tips for Avoiding Otter Attacks

  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas where otters are known to live.
  • Do not feed otters, as this can make them aggressive.
  • If you see an otter, do not approach it.


If An Otter attacks you

  • If you are attacked by an otter, try to fight back and make yourself look as large as possible.
  • If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Otter bites can become infected, so getting treatment as soon as possible is essential.
  • Report the attack to the authorities.


Otter Attacks are Rare

Otter attacks are rare, but they can happen. If you plan to spend time near water where otters are known to live, please keep in mind the risks and take precautions to avoid an attack. If you are in the woods, you definitely should be carrying bear pepper spray. But I don’t think you ever expect a ninja otter attack!

As always, be safe and be prepared.


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