After being subjected to a rare attack by otters, a woman needed to be airlifted to the hospital. The sharp-toothed creatures also harmed two other women while they were rafting on America’s Jefferson River.
According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP), about 8:15 pm, the three women were floating on inner tubes about 3 miles upstream from Sappington Bridge when they observed one or two otters. An otter approached and attacked them. The women got out of the water, and the otter swam away.
“The women then called 911, and several agencies responded, including Montana Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson Valley Ambulance, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Life Flight, and a local landowner,” the wildlife park said.
The news release said that all three women were injured during the encounter and received medical treatment in Bozeman. One of them, whose injuries were more serious, was taken to the hospital by helicopter.
“While attacks from otters are rare, otters can be protective of themselves and their young, especially at close distances, the Montana FWP said.
“They give birth to their young in April and can later be seen with their young in the water during the summer. They may also be protective of food resources, especially when those resources are scarce.”
The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department advises recreationists to keep a wide distance, giving all wildlife plenty of space. In drought conditions, low water levels can bring recreationists closer to water-dwelling wildlife. Being aware and keeping your distance can help avoid dangerous encounters, reduce stress for wildlife, and promote healthy animal behaviour. If you are attacked by an otter, fight back, get away and out of the water, and seek medical attention.