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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Rare Otter Attack In Montana Leaves 2 Women Injured, 1 Airlifted To Hospital

A woman in Montana had to be airlifted to the hospital after being subjected to a rare attack by otters. The sharp-toothed creatures also harmed two women while rafting on America’s Jefferson River. According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP), the three women were floating on inner tubes at about 8:15 pm Wednesday when they observed one or two otters. The otters swam up to them and attacked. The frightened women emerged from the water, and the otters swam away.

A member of the weasel family, otters can attack if they feel that their young or food resources are being threatened. NBC Montana reports that the woman flown to the hospital had severe bites on her face and arms. The other women suffered less-severe wounds and were treated on scene. The otters were not captured, and no further action was planned against them.

While otter attacks on humans are rare, they can occur when people encroach upon their territory. This is especially true in summer when the water levels of rivers are lower, bringing more people closer to local wildlife. Wildlife officials urge people to give animals space, even when they look cute.

The women were rafting on the river near Cardwell, about 3 miles upstream from Sappington Bridge. NBC Montana reports they were in the middle of their float when the otters approached them. They reported hearing noises and saw an otter swimming towards them. One of the otters attacked them, and they fled to shore. The otters then swam away, reportedly leaving the women with severe bites on their faces and arms.

They called 911, and the Montana Highway Patrol, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson Valley Ambulance, FWP, Life Flight, and a local landowner responded to the scene. The women were taken to the hospital, where the more severely injured victim was airlifted for treatment in Bozeman. The other two were treated on the scene and are expected to recover fully.

FWP says it does not plan to take any further action against the otters, but it has posted signs at fishing access sites warning recreational floaters of otter activity. “While attacks from otters are rare, they can protect their young, particularly at close distances,” FWP said in a press release. The animals usually give birth in April and can be seen with their young in the water during the summer.

This is a great reminder always to be aware of your surroundings when hiking, fishing, or floating in rivers and lakes. It’s always a good idea to stay at least 50 yards from any wildlife, especially otters, even when they seem cute! Have a safe and happy holiday weekend, folks. And remember: If you see wild animals, leave them alone — they’re probably just trying to survive!

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