Violent group of otters mysteriously attack people and dogs in Alaska
State authorities are looking for a group of violent local residents otters (Lutra canadensis) who mysteriously attacked adults, children and dogs in Anchorage, Alaska.
Three otter attacks – including one that injured a child – were reported across town in September, prompting officials from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) to urge residents to “stay vigilant around.” local lakes and rivers ”.
Nine-year-old Ayden Fernandez was filming four otters in a duck pond with his brother when one of the animals split from his group and attacked him. He tripped and fell while being chased, and the otter jumped on him.
Related: Photos: the dreaded ancient otter was as big as a wolf
“He has two fang marks on his back thigh and one on the front thigh on each leg,” his mother, Tiffany Hernandez, said Anchorage Daily News. “[He has] a sting in the foot. He ended up falling as he ran away and [the otter] put him on his back. “
Ayden was taken to the emergency room, where he received a rabies vaccine and a booster. Two more attacks followed later in the month, both on the same day, according to the ADFG. In the first, an otter bit a woman who was saving her dog from the group. In the second, reported from the same lake, otters attacked a second dog.
This is not the first time that otters have attacked dogs in town. In two separate incidents in 2019, two dogs, a labradoodle and a husky-mix, were attacked and pulled underwater by otters while swimming in the lakes of Anchorage, Huffpost reported. The owner of the husky-mix had to jump after his animal to fight the otters. Both dogs survived, but received bites and nicks that required multiple stitches.
While no one knows how many otters are behind these incidents, ADFG wildlife biologist David Battle suspects it is just one group.
“It seems there have always been four or five otters involved in all of the incidents,” Battle told Live Science. “Considering the rarity of this behavior in otters, and the fact that our first reported attack was in 2019 and has happened several times since, this is most likely a group that has stuck around. together for a period of time or which meets frequently over a period of time. “
Groups of otters tend to consist of either a mother with cubs or several single males. Battle said that as several otters have been reported to engage in attacks, it is likely that the group is a collection of adult otters, as opposed to a mother otter defending her young. Considering the dogs ‘involvement in almost every incident, the most likely explanation for otters’ aggressive behavior is a defensive reaction to the dogs.
“Most otters never show such a strong reaction towards dogs or people. Overall, they are curious animals, but generally not aggressive towards people or dogs,” Battle said. “It is possible that there was some sort of incident involving a dog that led them down this path, after which the otters learned to take aggressive action against the dogs, but it is impossible to say.”
A 2011 analysis by the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society found that since 1875 people have reported 39 wild otter attacks across the United States. Otters usually only inflict minor injuries on humans and none of the attacks were fatal, but in one of the most extreme cases, a victim of a particularly brutal otter attack must have been awarded almost 200 points. suture. In one notable case in 2018, a 77-year-old woman from Florida was violently attacked by an otter while paddleboarding in Florida, Live Science previously reported.
The ADFG is looking for the group of otters responsible for this latest wave of attacks, but Battle believes that given the animals’ lack of fixed territory, as well as their ability to move extensively through interconnected waterways, it might be difficult to find them. Once the otters are found, the ADFG says it will remove individuals from the group, testing any otters killed in the process for rabies.
“Identifying the people involved will most likely be a matter of responding to observations and evaluating behavior when we are able to catch up with them – what is their reaction to the presence of people, dogs, etc.”, a- he declared.
Originally posted on Live Science