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Minnesota otter attack: Anoka woman bitten two dozen times in 'unheard of' incident

Prudhomme ended up in the hospital following a relentless otter attack.
Prudhomme ended up in the hospital following a relentless otter attack.
Submitted photo via Star Tribune

Last Wednesday night, Leah Prudhomme, a triathlete from Anoka, was in the midst of a swim in Island Lake, located near Duluth, when she was brutally attacked... by an otter.

Prudhomme says she and a friend had just passed a bog when she felt a nip at her ankle. Suddenly, up popped an otter's head. It quickly dipped back underwater and began attacking her "ferociously," leaving her with 25 bite marks, some two inches deep.

KSTP reports that Prudhomme's father heard her screams, then drove his boat onto the lake and hauled her to safety. In addition to her wounds, Prudhomme has had to undergo a series of rabies and tetanus shots.

They're cute, but make no mistake -- their teeth are needle-sharp.
They're cute, but make no mistake -- their teeth are needle-sharp.

Recounting the incident to the Star Tribune, Prudhomme, 33, said the otter "just kept coming after me... you never knew where it was going to bite next."

Otters are normally playful and nonviolent animals, so news of the Island Lake attack left experts searching for words. Some have speculated that the attacking otter must've either had rabies or was a mother protecting young pups. According to the DNR, there have only been 40 otter attacks in the U.S. in the last 20 years.

Mike Scott, a conservation officer with the Minnesota DNR, told the Strib that while otters are "everywhere" in Minnesota's lakes and streams, he's "never seen or heard of" one attacking a human.

"Most times, [swimmers] wouldn't even know it," Scott said. "Otters usually stay away."


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