“An unprovoked attack is very un-otter-like, unless there’s a cause you can’t see,” Duplaix, who teaches conservation biology at Oregon State University, said Thursday in a phone interview with The Washington Post. A four-foot river otter attacked an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother swimming in a Washington state river, nearly costing the boy his life. She said that otter attacks involving humans are “extremely rare” but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. Review our, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, ‘It’s jumping on people and biting them’: Squirrel attack leaves 3 injured at retirement home. Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today. For this reason, petting and handling are ill-advised. Have a question about our comment policies? Spector could not immediately be reached for comment. But they're extremely territorial. It was the second attack in a month. The creatures, which often share aquatic habitats with beavers, enjoy “unpolluted water with a minimal human disturbance,” according to the National Zoo: A North American river otter’s home range can be as large as 30 square miles (78 square kilometers), but a typical territory is 3 to 15 square miles (4.8 to 24 square kilometers). There are 13 identified species of Otters known. “I took my paddle, and I tried to get him off of me, and he wouldn’t let go, and I kept screaming, I kept beating him with a paddle,” Spector told Fox affiliate WTVT. One of 13 subspecies of otter, the North American river otter is found from Quite possibly. They tend to leave humans alone so they aren't a threat if you happen to come upon one. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. The odd crocodilian meal is the result of sheer tenacity in which the otter … She said that in instances in which otters have attacked, people had gotten too close to mothers with cubs or to their dens. Check out our entire suite of free newsletters here. Do they bite their owners? Depending on the state of the infection, the spores of “Cocci” can also be aerosolized and inhaled by humans. The odd crocodilian meal is the result of sheer tenacity in which the otter wears down the gator during an hours-long struggle. Spector, 77, from Sarasota, turned around in her boat early Sunday morning and, catching a glimpse of the small river dweller, thought to herself, “Oh, this is a cute otter,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. Humans aren't on the menu. Following an encounter naturalists are calling beyond bizarre, Canada’s top medical journal is warning of otter attacks on humans after a Quebec … Duplaix advises people to watch otters only from a distance, taking care not approach their cubs or their dens. "Otters are very hard to see in the wild in most areas and try to avoid human presence," says Lei Lani Stelle, a biology professor and otter researcher at California's University of Redlands. To my surprise, I found that otters do attack people. The agency said that within the past year, there have not been any other reports of otter attacks in Manatee County, but it urged people to “reduce encounters with otters and other wildlife by maintaining your distance and not approaching otters or other wildlife, not feeding otters or other wildlife, and keeping pets leashed and supervised.”. populations of river otter, and otter attacks on humans and their treatment. Otters are carnivores, eating mainly fish, crayfish, and frogs. Most sea otters call Alaska home. She said that otter attacks involving humans are “extremely rare,” but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. Subscribe to our What You Missed newsletter for the top headlines from the outdoor world, in your inbox six days a week. They’re messy eaters. “Then we had this little tug of war,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. Bounding is their fastest gait. But in the early 1900s populations drastically declined, fallout from extensive trapping, urbanization, and pollution as the industrial age gained steam and humans encroached on otter habitat. They'd much prefer to avoid conflict with our ilk. Find more newsletters on our newsletter sign-up page. A sea otter snoozes on its back -- showing its hind legs, tail and webbed feet, which make otters great swimmers. Looking for something else? "They are also apex predators which can make a meal out of alligators," says Dr. Daniel Allen, animal geographer and author of Otter. Their long, agile bodies enable them to quickly twist, turn, roll and dive, and they are frequently seen sliding or burrowing in the mud or snow. 3. Additional Damage. “For an otter to come toward you is really exceptional,” she said. Still threatened, otters have rebounded somewhat since the Department of Natural Resources reintroduced them across the U.S. during the past 30 years. Sue Spector was kayaking with her husband down the pristine Braden River in western Florida when she spotted an otter. Human injuries are typically minor like Spector's; in one extreme case, an otter attack victim had to receive nearly 200 stitches, but none of the attacks were fatal. However, they can bite and they can fight with their tails so if you are provoking an attack then you have been warned. The fact is, otters don't want to have anything to do with you. You are now subscribed to What You Missed Here’s why. Spector, who suffered injuries to her arm, nose and ear during the weekend otter attack, has been treated for rabies as a precaution, according to the Tampa Bay Times. River otters, which weigh between 10 and 33 pounds, have long slender bodies, short legs and webbed toes, according to a fact sheet from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. When traveling on land, river otters walk, run, or bound. The giant otter subsists almost exclusively on a diet of fish, particularly characins and catfish, but may also eat crabs, turtles, snakes and small caiman. Otters rarely attack humans, but can be territorial (LA Times via Getty Images) A family of otters attacked two teenage boys who were swimming in Shasta Lake, California, on Sunday morning. A river otter at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, gets some snow on … “One … Because they don’t have blubber, sea otters eat constantly to make up for the … So don't worry. Usually otters do not attack people unless it is a mother protecting her babies, or the animal has rabies, but it is unclear why in the video the otter came after the person filming, who ran away screaming. What is an otter? The attacks are vicious; however no one has died from an otter attack. "They wouldn't go after somebody who wasn't interfering with them," says Stelle. It took some time, but I fought with him, my husband jumped in, and other people came by to help.”. The FWC said river otters, which belong to the weasel family, are not typically considered a threat to humans. The otter's is a tired, old story: once it was abundant throughout most of North America, from Mexico to as far north as the Arctic Circle, spread from sea to sea. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Thanks for signing up! Keep your respectful distance and, for the foreseeable evolutionary future, you won't be otter food. They spend a significant portion of the day scent marking territory by urinating, defecating, scratching and rubbing their scent glands on rocks and trees. In the United States, there are sea otters and the North American river otters, or Canadian otters. We hope you’ll support us. They like attention but do not like to ‘play’ with humans, in the way humans like to interact with pets. Witnesses also suggested that the creature may have been hunted by an alligator. Yet even bites are rare. Now when I see an otter, I have more respect. Luckily, it doesn't occur often. Oil spills. Lei Lani Stelle, a biology professor and otter researcher at California's University of Redlands, 2011 Oceanographic Environmental Research Society study, Dr. Daniel Allen, animal geographer and author of, our entire suite of free newsletters here. Thank you. Animal control officials are warning people to stay away from the otters. Officials say that if the otter is found, it will be tested for rabies. "That is a common thing with all wildlife," Richardson said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement earlier this week that the agency’s law enforcement officers were searching for an “aggressive otter” after four kayakers were injured in separate attacks Saturday and Sunday on the Braden River in Manatee County. “The otter followed us but didn’t attack again.”. And they have good cause to. “When you’re [in the middle of] it you don’t have a lot of thought except you hope you survive.”, Spector and her husband climbed on their guide’s kayak and began paddling “as fast as we could,” she told the Times. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Otters had crept up into their backyard, and attacked Bucky, the couple’s 13-year-old Pappion. Because of the activity in the sea will never ends because many people rely their life on it … Key words: attack, rabies, mustelidae, river otter, Lontra canadensis, human interactions Introduction Otters are an aquatic carnivore found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. They are cute and fun to watch. [‘It’s jumping on people and biting them’: Squirrel attack leaves 3 injured at retirement home]. The biggest problem with humans and Otters is that it was once big business to sell the pelts from these animals. That home range shrinks drastically during breeding and rearing season. Though their tendency when confronted is to dive and flee, otters can be aggressive when defending their young or a food source from a perceived threat. They are also downright scary-looking. But otters have a dark side. Figure 2: Drawing Credit - WDF&W. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Immediate medical help is needed for any scratches or bites. Most people find the Otter to be a friendly looking creature. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a shy, if playful, weasel topping out at 30 pounds and five feet from head to tail. Extreme adventure: 1950s film shows beavers parachuting into Idaho backcountry. It has no serious natural predators other than humans, although it must compete with other species, including the neotropical otter and caiman species, for … The animal, usually known for its curiosity and playful demeanor, leaped onto the kayak and lunged at Spector. In addition, bones, fur or other samples collected from infected animals as souvenirs can transmit this fungus to humans. They tend to leave humans alone so they aren’t a threat if you happen to come upon one. Check this one out: Giant otter with fish. Often times when they have small one's around, but sometimes for no known reason. She said that otter attacks involving humans are "extremely rare" but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. To inspire active participation in the world outside through award-winning coverage of the sports, people, places, adventure, discoveries, health and fitness, gear and apparel, trends and events that make up an active lifestyle. “I tried to get him off of my kayak, and I screamed extremely loud so I could try and scare him off, but that didn’t work. But they’re probably more likely to bite unfamiliar people, like visitors! Photo by Bob Winfree, National Park Service. An animal expert said the attacks could be due to pressures on otter … Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. While river otters tend to live alone or in pairs, they often socialize in groups and are known for their playful behavior. Freezing the infected otter or its tissues will not kill the fungus, even in -80°C. Another Minnesota woman was attacked by an otter while swimming last weekend. The only known fatalities occurred in captivity when otters killed intruders to protect their cubs. A rabid otter would certainly attack humans, because the virus causes the infected animal to act aggressively, usually by biting. Experts found the question a strange one. Otters have been known to attack humans, and females with young are unpredictable. Otters boast a sharp set of canines and crushing molars. In light of recent otter attacks in Florida, we reviewed all evidence of otter attacks on humans for any geographical and temporal relationships from the earliest (1875) to the most recent (Dec 2010). Otters can transmit rabies to humans and pets. Jack and Marilyn ran to catch a glimpse of the offending creatures. In South America, the giant otter resides among hundreds of hungry caimans (a type of crocodilian related to alligators) without any issue. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. Despite the attack, Richardson said the otter isn't in danger of being tranquilized or moved because it was exhibiting normal behavior. The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family, yet the smallest marine mammal in North America. Such a concentrated attack on a human is without precedent in the wild. When provoked, they'll give brief chase—they can swim seven miles per hour and achieve 18 on land at a full run, webbed toes an all—and if things come to such a pass, they'll snap. Most occurred in the past 20 years—nearly half of them in Florida—and about a third of the culprits were rabid. The FWC warned that those who are bitten or scratched by wild animals should seek medical attention because they can carry rabies, a potentially deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system. She said that otter attacks involving humans are “extremely rare,” but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. Spector is recovering well. The couple was thrown into the water — half-swimming, half-flailing their paddles to try to fend off the animal. There are 13 species of otters around the world, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Find more newsletters on our. Humans aren't on the menu. They also endanger residents by attracting coyotes and bobcats to yards, creating territory struggles that make properties unsafe. By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, General assignment reporter covering national and breaking news, Share your feedback by emailing the author. In the Florida case, wildlife authorities said witnesses reported that the otter had been chasing boats. At 5.6 feet (1.7 meters), they are the biggest otters in the world and the longest members of the weasel family. A 2011 Oceanographic Environmental Research Society study of otter attacks found only 39 documented violent confrontations dating back to 1875. It was fast and easy to kill them, skin them, and make a pocket full of money. Nicole Duplaix, who chairs the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Otter Specialist Group, said otters are known for being friendly animals, but, like most other creatures, keep their distance from humans. And theirs is a formidable bite, roughly comparable in force to a German shepherd's, which can break hand bones but mostly punctures or bruises skin. Otters rarely attack humans, but can sometimes be territorial, especially when they are protecting their babies. Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. Then they flee. Subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest outdoor news. Trails and Tracks. The co-expansion of otter and human populations accounts for most encounters gone wrong. When otters are present around lakes and ponds, their fecal matter accumulates up to 20 yards from shorelines. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. However, they can bite and they can fight with their tails so … Since Otters don’t pose a threat to humans there is no reason for such destruction to continue. There is evidence that river otters’ play activities strengthen social bonds, improve hunting techniques and scent mark territories. Half a dozen attacks have been reported since. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason. Otters are restless and do not like to be restrained or restricted. "They usually detect us before we detect them.". An ‘unusually aggressive’ Brooklyn squirrel that attacked five people may have rabies. Normally, otters do not attack other animals. Most people find the Otter to be a friendly looking creature. Duplaix, with the Otter Specialist Group, an organization responsible for the global conservation of otters, said that “even a cornered rat can do a lot of damage” and that otters are no exception. Otters are carnivores, eating mainly fish, crayfish, and frogs. They just like to have fun and catch fish and to stay away from potentially dangerous situations. "Do not expect a waterside encounter with a placid, cuddly creature.". 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