A woman in Florida says she was bit and scratched by an aggressive otter while she was taking her dog for a walk at a park. She suspects that the otter an officer shot and tested positive for rabies was the one that attacked her.
It was on Jan. 8 that Ann-Christine Langselius was attacked by an otter while she was walking her dog at Lake Lily Park. According to Langselius, she visits the park on a daily basis but had never seen an otter before then.
Evidently, she was walking on a bridge by the lake’s eastern shore when she saw the otter looking at her and went straight toward her. The otter attacked her right leg and then bit her left leg and held on while she was running until she got off the bridge. Her dog was not injured in the attack, but she was left temporarily unable to walk because of the severe bites on her leg.
Langselius says that she has encountered many animals before, but that based on the otter’s behavior it was obvious that the animal was ill.
On Wednesday, after several reports about an aggressive otter in the area, the authorities put up flyers, advising people to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and to keep their distance if they spot any aggressive otters. Furthermore, people were advised to not feed wildlife.
Just this Thursday near Lake Maitland, a police officer fatally shot an otter, which eventually tested positive for rabies. Langselius believes that the shot otter was the one that attacked her.
As such, health department authorities say three people are being treated for rabies.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease that affects mammals, and is typically transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. It is a virus that infects the central nervous system, and ultimately causes disease in the brain and death.
Its initial symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, but its progressive symptoms may include anxiety, confusion, paralysis, excitation, hallucination, agitation, hydrophobia, and hypersalivation. Once these symptoms occur, death occurs within days.