That otter hurt.
A Singapore resident was hospitalized after a bizarre animal attack last month in which he was accosted by a gang of otters, who reportedly bit him 26 times.
“I actually thought I was going to die – they were going to kill me,” British native Graham George Spencer told the Straits Times of the otterly frightening encounter, which occurred Nov. 30 while he was strolling to the Singapore Botanic Gardens with a friend.
Spencer, who is in his 60s, was reportedly approaching the visitors center when he spotted around 20 otters crossing a dimly-lit path in front of him. He claimed it was the first time he had seen the mustelids in the area despite taking his morning walks there for five months. The animal encounter went south after a jogger ran through the pack, causing the fish-eaters to go “crazy like dogs” and try to bite the passerby, the shocked senior told Singapore’s Today online newspaper.
Fortunately, the runner escaped, but the water weasels set their sights on Spencer, who believed they’d mistook him for the runner.
The ornery otters reportedly hit him in the ankles, pushed him down and leaped on top of Spencer, then proceeded to bite the prone man around his legs, shoes and buttocks, with one nipping his finger, according to the media reports.
“I was bitten 26 times in 10 seconds,” an aghast Spencer recalled to Today.
Salvation came after the victim’s friend, who was about “15 paces” away, ran up to him screaming and yelling in an attempt to scare the hairy hooligans away.
The cantankerous creatures ceased the attack momentarily, allowing Spencer to get up and make a break for it. The pair then ran for the visitor’s center with the otters in pursuit for a short distance, according to the Straits Times.
Shortly thereafter, a guard — who appeared to be returning from a break — treated Spencer’s wounds with bandages and offered to call an ambulance. However, the hardy ex-pat declined, instead opting to walk to a hospital across the street, as it was closer.
‘I was bitten 26 times in 10 seconds.’
There, doctors administered Spencer tetanus shots and oral antibiotics and stitched up his wounds before discharging him the same day. The patient claimed he has since returned to the hospital three times, racking up around $1,200 in medical bills.
Spencer, who reportedly struggles to sleep or sit down due to the bites on his bottom, said he might even have to cancel an upcoming Christmas trip to the UK on account of not feeling well enough to travel.
Nonetheless, he feels lucky to be alive.
“If it wasn’t for my friend, I don’t think I’d still be here,” said the grateful fellow, who has since had a meeting about the attack with representatives from the venue, with a spokesperson indicating an investigation was underway.
In light of the incident, Dr. Tan Puay Yok, group director of the facility, is imploring visitors to observe otters from a distance and avoid feeding or interacting with them, especially when their young are around. The park has also posted signs at the park’s entrance, warning guests about the aggressive animals.
“You got to keep the public away from (the otters) because this will happen again,” cautioned Spencer in a statement to Today.
Nonetheless, experts said that otter attacks are exceedingly rare.
Bernard Seah, a member of tracking organizations OtterWatch and the Otter Working Group, said Spencer’s attackers were a pack of smooth-coated otters called the “Zouk family,” which are reportedly “the most human-tolerant otter family” in Singapore.
“In my years of documenting otters’ behaviors, I have never heard of such an aggressive attack,” said the incredulous researcher.
However, this isn’t the first time otters have assaulted someone. The most recent incident in May concerned a 77-year-old man who was bitten on the leg near the Kallang River.
Meanwhile, in a similar instance in 2019, a man was forced to rescue his dog from a pack of vicious river otters in Alaska.
Original Article: Man attacked by 20 otters: ‘I thought I was going to die’ (nypost.com)