Minnesota otter attacks: Why do they suddenly hate us?

Schefers thought she was being eaten by muskies. Turns out she was dealing with a pissed off otter.
Schefers thought she was being eaten by muskies. Turns out she was dealing with a pissed off otter.
Submitted image via Star Tribune

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

After Leah Prudhomme was attacked by an otter in Island Lake, a DNR conservation officer said he'd "never seen or heard of" such a thing.

He's heard of such things at least three times now, as this past weekend, Carol Schefers of St. Michael became Minnesota's third otter attack victim of the summer.

Schefers, 38, was swimming in Ude Lake near Aitkin when she felt something nip at her.

"I thought, 'wow, these fish are fesity,'" she told the Star Tribune. "All of the sudden, bam, bam bam. I thought, 'We've got big muskies here.'"

But then she she saw whiskers and eyes are realized that her assailant was an otter. She started screaming, and 18 bites on her legs, ankles, and arms later, her husband was able to hoist her back into a boat. She later received a regiment of precautionary rabies and tetanus shots at a local hospital.

In addition to Prudhomme and Schefers, a man was bitten in western Minnesota in June when he tried to pick up a baby otter. But who could resist!

Schefers says she'll never swim in a Minnesota lake again, but James David Smith, a wildlife professor at the University of Minnesota, says she has little reason to worry.

"I think it's just a rare event," Smith told the Strib.

Rare event or not, the DNR isn't against people taking precautions against the undeniably cute but suddenly ferocious semiaquatic mammals.

Bob Mlynar, the DNR conservation officer who responded to Schefer's situation, points out that people can bring shotguns on boats.

"If they have an aggressive otter coming at their boat, I have no problem with them shooting an otter," he told the Strib. Shoot an otter? Perish the thought!

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