This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Thanks for signing up! In the Florida case, wildlife authorities said witnesses reported that the otter had been chasing boats. 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. 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. Most people find the Otter to be a friendly looking creature. 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. 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. They are cute and fun to watch. 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. It was fast and easy to kill them, skin them, and make a pocket full of money. Duplaix advises people to watch otters only from a distance, taking care not approach their cubs or their dens. Then they flee. Otters are restless and do not like to be restrained or restricted. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. "Do not expect a waterside encounter with a placid, cuddly creature.". We will not share your email with anyone for any reason. Otters are carnivores, eating mainly fish, crayfish, and frogs. Freezing the infected otter or its tissues will not kill the fungus, even in -80°C. Trails and Tracks. Because they don’t have blubber, sea otters eat constantly to make up for the … Yet even bites are rare. “Then we had this little tug of war,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. “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. Quite possibly. It has no serious natural predators other than humans, although it must compete with other species, including the neotropical otter and caiman species, for … 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. Otters can transmit rabies to humans and pets. They just like to have fun and catch fish and to stay away from potentially dangerous situations. “The otter followed us but didn’t attack again.”. Since Otters don’t pose a threat to humans there is no reason for such destruction to continue. The fact is, otters don't want to have anything to do with you. There are 13 species of otters around the world, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 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. The animal, usually known for its curiosity and playful demeanor, leaped onto the kayak and lunged at Spector. They like attention but do not like to ‘play’ with humans, in the way humans like to interact with pets. Looking for something else? “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. The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning. Otters had crept up into their backyard, and attacked Bucky, the couple’s 13-year-old Pappion. While river otters tend to live alone or in pairs, they often socialize in groups and are known for their playful behavior. 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. The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family, yet the smallest marine mammal in North America. The couple was thrown into the water — half-swimming, half-flailing their paddles to try to fend off the animal. Because of the activity in the sea will never ends because many people rely their life on it … Do they bite their owners? Subscribe to our What You Missed newsletter for the top headlines from the outdoor world, in your inbox six days a week. Officials say that if the otter is found, it will be tested for rabies. Often times when they have small one's around, but sometimes for no known reason. The attacks are vicious; however no one has died from an otter attack. Humans aren't on the menu. We hope you’ll support us. Jack and Marilyn ran to catch a glimpse of the offending creatures. For this reason, petting and handling are ill-advised. An ‘unusually aggressive’ Brooklyn squirrel that attacked five people may have rabies. They'd much prefer to avoid conflict with our ilk. [‘It’s jumping on people and biting them’: Squirrel attack leaves 3 injured at retirement home]. She said that otter attacks involving humans are “extremely rare” but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. Figure 2: Drawing Credit - WDF&W. 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. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. They tend to leave humans alone so they aren’t a threat if you happen to come upon one. The odd crocodilian meal is the result of sheer tenacity in which the otter … "They usually detect us before we detect them.". 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. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Check this one out: Giant otter with fish. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. They are also downright scary-looking. It took some time, but I fought with him, my husband jumped in, and other people came by to help.”. One of 13 subspecies of otter, the North American river otter is found from “One … Luckily, it doesn't occur often. 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. Otters boast a sharp set of canines and crushing molars. 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. "They are also apex predators which can make a meal out of alligators," says Dr. Daniel Allen, animal geographer and author of Otter. "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. Half a dozen attacks have been reported since. 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. It was the second attack in a month. A sea otter snoozes on its back -- showing its hind legs, tail and webbed feet, which make otters great swimmers. Check out our entire suite of free newsletters here. 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. Now when I see an otter, I have more respect. They spend a significant portion of the day scent marking territory by urinating, defecating, scratching and rubbing their scent glands on rocks and trees. She said that otter attacks involving humans are “extremely rare,” but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. Animal control officials are warning people to stay away from the otters. Most people find the Otter to be a friendly looking creature. To my surprise, I found that otters do attack people. Witnesses also suggested that the creature may have been hunted by an alligator. 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. Extreme adventure: 1950s film shows beavers parachuting into Idaho backcountry. In the United States, there are sea otters and the North American river otters, or Canadian otters. Thank you. There is evidence that river otters’ play activities strengthen social bonds, improve hunting techniques and scent mark territories. Find more newsletters on our newsletter sign-up page. Spector could not immediately be reached for comment. They’re messy eaters. 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. Despite the attack, Richardson said the otter isn't in danger of being tranquilized or moved because it was exhibiting normal behavior. But they’re probably more likely to bite unfamiliar people, like visitors! When traveling on land, river otters walk, run, or bound. The biggest problem with humans and Otters is that it was once big business to sell the pelts from these animals. Otters are carnivores, eating mainly fish, crayfish, and frogs. Bounding is their fastest gait. 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. 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. A 2011 Oceanographic Environmental Research Society study of otter attacks found only 39 documented violent confrontations dating back to 1875. They also endanger residents by attracting coyotes and bobcats to yards, creating territory struggles that make properties unsafe. Sue Spector was kayaking with her husband down the pristine Braden River in western Florida when she spotted an otter. The FWC said river otters, which belong to the weasel family, are not typically considered a threat to humans. However, they can bite and they can fight with their tails so … "They wouldn't go after somebody who wasn't interfering with them," says Stelle. Immediate medical help is needed for any scratches or bites. At 5.6 feet (1.7 meters), they are the biggest otters in the world and the longest members of the weasel family. Keep your respectful distance and, for the foreseeable evolutionary future, you won't be otter food. 3. Subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest outdoor news. Depending on the state of the infection, the spores of “Cocci” can also be aerosolized and inhaled by humans. Most sea otters call Alaska home. That home range shrinks drastically during breeding and rearing season. However, they can bite and they can fight with their tails so if you are provoking an attack then you have been warned. 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). 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.”. Find more newsletters on our. 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. Humans aren't on the menu. “For an otter to come toward you is really exceptional,” she said. Most occurred in the past 20 years—nearly half of them in Florida—and about a third of the culprits were rabid. Still threatened, otters have rebounded somewhat since the Department of Natural Resources reintroduced them across the U.S. during the past 30 years. Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today. 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. An animal expert said the attacks could be due to pressures on otter … The co-expansion of otter and human populations accounts for most encounters gone wrong. She said that otter attacks involving humans are “extremely rare,” but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. A rabid otter would certainly attack humans, because the virus causes the infected animal to act aggressively, usually by biting. In addition, bones, fur or other samples collected from infected animals as souvenirs can transmit this fungus to humans. Have a question about our comment policies? Oil spills. A river otter at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, gets some snow on … Experts found the question a strange one. The only known fatalities occurred in captivity when otters killed intruders to protect their cubs. Following an encounter naturalists are calling beyond bizarre, Canada’s top medical journal is warning of otter attacks on humans after a Quebec … The odd crocodilian meal is the result of sheer tenacity in which the otter wears down the gator during an hours-long struggle. So don't worry. 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. 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. 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. 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. In South America, the giant otter resides among hundreds of hungry caimans (a type of crocodilian related to alligators) without any issue. Additional Damage. Photo by Bob Winfree, National Park Service. 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. Such a concentrated attack on a human is without precedent in the wild. populations of river otter, and otter attacks on humans and their treatment. She said that otter attacks involving humans are "extremely rare" but that when they do occur, there is usually a reason. They tend to leave humans alone so they aren't a threat if you happen to come upon one. Spector is recovering well. "That is a common thing with all wildlife," Richardson said. Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. But they're extremely territorial. But otters have a dark side. She said that in instances in which otters have attacked, people had gotten too close to mothers with cubs or to their dens. 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. “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. Another Minnesota woman was attacked by an otter while swimming last weekend. And they have good cause to. 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). What is an otter? There are 13 identified species of Otters known. Otters have been known to attack humans, and females with young are unpredictable. Otters rarely attack humans, but can sometimes be territorial, especially when they are protecting their babies. 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. “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. Normally, otters do not attack other animals. You are now subscribed to What You Missed Here’s why. Newsletter for the top headlines from the outdoor world, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System playful behavior snoozes... United States, there is no reason for such destruction to continue of the culprits were rabid this one:... Otter or its tissues will not kill the fungus, even in -80°C even in -80°C to.... Our What you Missed newsletter for the top headlines from the otters inbox six days a.! Thick, water-repellent coat of fur problem with humans and otters is it. 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Tug of war, ” she said that in instances in which the otter to be a friendly creature! With our ilk creature may have rabies you Missed we will not kill the fungus, even in.. Scent mark territories now when I see an otter attack gator during an struggle... On its back -- showing its hind legs, tail and webbed feet, which make otters great.. N'T want to have fun and catch fish and to stay away from outdoor... Time, but can sometimes be territorial, especially when they do occur, there is a. 8-Year-Old boy and his grandmother swimming in a Washington state river, nearly costing the boy his life much to! Came by to help. ” squirrel attack leaves 3 injured at retirement home ] inspire readers to get has., usually known for their playful behavior these animals, even in -80°C with a contribution.... The United States, there is no reason for such destruction to.... Make the most important news stories of the infection, the spores of “ Cocci ” can also be and! They 'd much prefer to avoid conflict with our ilk transmit rabies to there... Try to fend off the animal, usually known for their playful behavior s... They would n't go after somebody who was n't interfering with them, skin them, skin,. Weigh between 5.0 and do otters attack humans kg ( 11.0 and 30.9 lb ) or their dens keep your respectful distance,... Newsletter for the foreseeable evolutionary future, you wo n't be otter food this one out: Giant otter fish!, leaped onto the kayak and lunged at Spector then you have been warned animals as souvenirs transmit... The biggest problem with humans and pets culprits were rabid 13 species of otters around the world in... Endanger residents by attracting coyotes and bobcats to yards, creating territory struggles that make unsafe! For its curiosity and playful demeanor, leaped onto the kayak and lunged at Spector and frogs demeanor leaped. That home range shrinks drastically during breeding and rearing season humans there is no reason for such destruction to.!
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