Man Attacked by Pack of ‘Crazy’ Otters: ‘Thought I Was Going to Die’

by Josh Lanier
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(BURGI/DPA/AFP via Getty Images)

And in otter news, a man thought he was about to die after a family of the water ferrets attacked him on his morning walk. The ambush was so vicious that the man says he still can’t sit down or sleep nearly two weeks later.

Graham George Spencer told a Singapore newspaper that he was going for a walk at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on Nov. 30 when he came across several otters in the path. It was a cute moment until a runner bounded into them. Spencer, a British ex-pat, said they went from “being quiet to going crazy like dogs.”

The mean marine mammals jumped on Graham and started biting him on the ankles, legs, and buttocks. He feared the worst. Thankfully, a friend wasn’t far behind him. He ran up and screamed, scaring the otters away.

“I was bitten 26 times in 10 seconds. If it wasn’t for my friend, I don’t think I’d still be here. I’d be dead,” Spencer said.

I was bitten 26 times in 10 seconds. If it wasn’t for my friend, I don’t think I’d still be here. I’d be dead

Graham George Spencer

Graham walked to a nearby hospital where doctors treated him and released him the same day. But animal bites are no joke. Since then, he can’t sleep or sit down comfortably because of his wounds. Doctors have had to treat him three more times.

Officials at the Singapore Botanic Gardens are investigating the incident. Graham hopes this serves as a warning to others.

“I just want people to be aware that these otters are not little puppies that you can stroke, and you need to be really careful,” Graham said. “If they run into you or you step onto them, they will attack you.”

Experts Say Otter Attacks Are Rare

Graham George Spencer cautioned others from going near otters. But experts are dubious about the story.

Bernard Seah, a member of OtterWatch and the Otter Working Group, told the Today newspapers that he knows the otters that attacked Spencer. He called them the “most human-tolerant otter family” in Singapore. He chalks the attack up to confusion

“Given that it was early morning, it may have been dark and confusing for the otters, and (Spencer) may have just been a victim of circumstance,” he added. Seah added that he’s never heard of such an aggressive attack in the past.

Though, they have happened. Otters in Alaska attacked a 9-year-old boy, a woman, and dogs in separate incidents this year.

Dr. Tan Puay Yok, the group director of Singapore Botanic Gardens, said while attacks are rare, people should remain vigilant.

“Visitors to green spaces should be mindful of their surroundings,” he said, “observe wildlife from a safe distance, avoid feeding or approaching them, especially when there are pups as the adults can be protective over their young when approached by humans.” 

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