Wild Otter On The Loose Attacks Woman Kayaker From Florida


Sue Spector was attacked by a wild river otter while she was kayaking in a Florida river. Spector who had scratches on her face and arms, received treatment for rabies.

On Sunday morning, Spector, 77 years old, and her husband, Marty, was with a group of people kayaking down Braden River in Manatee County, Florida.

The group was 30 minutes into their kayak cruising when the attack happened.

"It was very pristine and very nice and I heard someone make a comment that, 'Oh, there's an otter!" says Spector as she recounted the events of the attack.

The group was looking at the otter when suddenly, the animal jumped on the boat and attacked Spector. The kayak toppled, and Spector submerged in neck-deep river water. The aggressive otter clawed Spector's back and her head.

Upon realizing what was happening, Marty went to aid Sue, but the otter didn't want to come off and kept on attacking his wife.

"My boat turned over and so I was in the water with a paddle, just trying to beat the otter off her back. It didn't want to come off!," says Marty.

Wild Otters

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the attack.

Aside from Spector, another woman was attacked by the wild otter.

Kayak tour guide Marsha Wikle, who was not at the site during the attack, proceeded to aid the victims immediately after she heard successive whistle sounds, signaling that something was wrong.

A day before Spector was attacked, the FWC received a separate report of two people who were attacked and bitten by a wild river otter while they were kayaking 2 miles from the site of Spector's attack.

The report indicated that the otter was acting aggressive and chasing boats on the river.

The incidents prompted the FWC to post a sign at the entrance of the river warning the public, including boaters and kayakers, about aggressive otters in the Braden River.

Avoid Otters

River otter are mammals with streamlined body, short legs with webbed feet.

It has small ears, nostrils that can close underwater and a tapered tail. Their dense fur keeps them warm. Otters can grow to more than a meter long, from head to tail, and weighs up to 14 kilograms (31 pounds). Male otters are larger in size than females.

Otters are known territorial animals, they all have scent glands that they use to mark off their territory. They live along rivers, streams, lakes, and other large waterways.

People are advised to keep a safe distance of at least 50-feet when they see otters. The best way to avoid an encounter with a wild river otter is to avoid disturbing their habitat.

"If the otter notices you, you are likely too close and should back away," according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

When encountering an otter, do not point directly at them. Pass by parallel and keep moving slowly but steadily past them.

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