Jen Royce from the US state of Montana will not soon forget this day. The mother of three was attacked and badly mauled by an otter while floating on the Jefferson River.

It’s been a few days since the trip. On the evening of August 2nd, the three friends were walking in the middle of the river with rubber dinghy tires when the sudden attack occurred.

“Around 8:15 p.m. the otter attacked us. It lasted maybe 5 minutes? I really can’t remember,” she describes the case on her Facebook page. The marten bites her face, ears, hands, legs and ankles in several places. “This thing was vicious and ruthless,” says Royce. The girlfriends are also attacked. “A friend had her thumb ripped out and also has bite marks all over her body,” she writes.

The friends escape from the river in different directions. “I was covered in blood and running from my face and nose. It was cold. We were wet. It was dark,” said Royce. Luckily they have a mobile phone, which they can use to call emergency services in SOS mode. But the remote location makes it difficult to locate her phone for search and rescue. Less than an hour later, they see the red and blue lights of the ambulances approaching the area. But it’s not close enough to contact the women. Eventually, one of them makes the decision to leave the other two and meet the rescue team.

At that point, Royce said, she was “extremely weak” and didn’t know what was going on. She tells her friend that she loves her and that she should take care of her children as she doesn’t think that if she closes her eyes she will wake up again. To stay awake, she focuses on the weeds in front of her and counts backwards from 99 — “to refocus and stay calm,” as she says.

Royce is flown to a hospital in a helicopter while her friends are treated at the scene. They are later taken to a hospital for further treatment. All three women receive multiple doses of rabies vaccine. Royce has to undergo multiple surgeries. Friends set up a GoFundMe page so family can pay for medical care. In an update, she reports that she has to clean the wounds and change the bandages two to three times a day. Her face was “a mess”. She also still needs help with most everyday activities, such as opening a bottle or can or putting on a belt, as most of the wounds are on the hands and fingers.

In addition to physical ailments, her psyche is also troubling her. All three women already have the prospect of therapy in order to process what they have experienced. “This is a priority for each of us,” she writes.

The Montana Fisheries, Wildlife and Parks Authority (FWP) posted signs at various fishing spots following the incident, notifying otter activity in the area. ‘Although otter attacks are rare, otters can protect themselves and their young, especially at close range,’ according to the FWP. “They give birth to their young in April and can be seen in the water with their young later in the summer.” Recreation seekers are advised to keep a good distance and allow plenty of space for all wildlife to reduce stress on them and avoid dangerous encounters.

Watch the video: These cute shots were taken at the Oregon Zoo. They show how otter lady Tilly gives swimming lessons to her offspring Mo. A training that is vital for the animals.

Quellen:  Facebook, GoFundMe,  Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks