Woman has part of her ear bitten off in extremely rare otter attack

A woman tubing with friends along a US river has been hospitalised after being attacked by an otter.

Jen Royce, from Bozeman in Montana, was floating down the Jefferson River with two friends earlier this month when she was attacked by the animal for around five minutes.

Attacks from otters are incredibly rare – there have only been an estimated 59 otter attacks with injuries or deaths worldwide since 1875, the MailOnline reports.

Warning: Graphic images follow

Jen, 37, suffered multiple injuries to her face and limbs, including part of her ear being bitten off.

She said she thought she might die in the attack – and due to their remote location she had to wait nearly an hour for paramedics to arrive.

Her two friends were also attacked by the otter, but Jen faced the worst injuries.

Jen explained: ‘I didn’t even have a chance to get the words “there is an otter behind you” out of me before it attacked my friend.

‘Without ANY exaggeration, God’s honest truth, I did not think I was going to make it out of that river.

‘I had no clue if my friends were going to make it out. But by the grace of God we did.

‘We were helpless. I tried to kick it away, but I would just get attacked somewhere else.’

She added: ‘I tried to hold it back at one point by grabbing its arm to hold it away while trying to swim closer to shore.

‘This thing was vicious and relentless. It bit my face in several places, both of my ears, my arms, my hands, my legs, my thighs and my ankle.

‘My friends were bit on the hands and on their bottom. One friend’s thumb was shredded, and she had bite marks all over her body as well.

The three friends were able to get out of the water and used their iPhone’s SOS feature to call for help.

Jen says the 50 minutes spent waiting for paramedics was ‘painful and scary’, as she was feeling faint and terrified that she would die if she closed her eyes.

‘I made the choice, knowing the pain it would cause my friend to tell her I loved her and to ask her to watch over my kids,’ she said. 

‘I cannot explain how seeing those [ambulance] lights felt. I was hopeful again. They found us. THEY FOUND US. We weren’t alone anymore.

‘I am lucky, and I am grateful, and I am alive.’

Jen was flown by helicopter to a local hospital while her two friends were treated at the scene. All three were given rabies treatment as a precaution.

A Montana native, Jen had to undergo surgery for her injuries and is still recovering from puncture wounds on her arms and legs.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is now advising visitors to the potential dangers. 

‘While attacks from otters are rare, otters can be protective of themselves and their young, especially at close distances,’ a statement from the park said. 

Jeff Ewelt, executive director of ZooMontana, agreed, adding: ‘In the wild, they are pretty territorial animals, especially around their young and and especially if resources are scarce.

‘Fighting back is going to be the best option, because they’re not going to give up on you, especially if you’re in the water, they’re going to try to eliminate the threat.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Source: Read Full Article