Womenz Magazine

Montana River Float Turns into a Wild Otter Encounter for Three Women

Wild Otter Encounter
Photo: usnews

A surprise encounter with a river otter during a leisurely float trip in southern Montana resulted in injuries for three women, one of whom was severely wounded, according to authorities report on Thursday.

The unsettling incident occurred near Cardwell, on a secluded section of the Jefferson River, a Missouri River tributary frequented by fishing enthusiasts and recreational boaters.

A rogue river otter approached and launched an unexpected attack on the group of adult women around 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, confirmed Morgan Jacobsen of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The women managed to reach the shore, where one of them promptly dialed 911.

Jefferson County Undersheriff James Everett said that one of the women sustained substantial injuries on her face and arms, which necessitated an airlift to a hospital. As of Thursday, her condition was not yet known. The other two women suffered arm injuries from the incident.”

“It’s just not something you run into very often,” Everett said. “Bears do it, moose too, and occasionally a deer, but otters? That’s not normal.”

According to Jacobsen, one of the women reported seeing a pair of otters prior to the incident, though the number of otters involved in the attack remains uncertain.

Northern river otters, part of the weasel species, can weigh as much as 20 pounds (9 kilograms) – comparable to a petite dog – and measure up to 47 inches (1.2 meters) in length. Predominantly piscivorous, these creatures can defend themselves with their teeth and claws, capable of inflicting bites and scratches, as Jacobsen pointed out.

“If folks are attacked by an otter, our recommended response is to fight back, getaway, and get out of the water,” he said.

Following the incident, cautionary signage has been installed at key entry points along the affected section of the Jefferson River.

Since the attack on Wednesday, no otters have been spotted in the area. Jacobsen stated that there would be no attempts to capture or relocate any otters, as the incident is thought to have been an act of self-defense on the part of the otters.

This isn’t the first encounter of this nature in Montana; two years prior, a 12-year-old boy tubing on Montana’s Big Hole River was attacked by an otter, but fortunately, he wasn’t severely injured.

In a somewhat related occurrence last month in California, a sea otter grabbed headlines when it was spotted assertively snagging surfboards from surfers in Santa Cruz’s coastal waters.

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