A leisurely evening of inner tubing took a dangerous turn for three women in Cardwell, Montana, when an otter unexpectedly attacked them. The incident occurred on the Jefferson River in the southwestern part of the state around 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday. According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP), the women spotted one or two otters in the water before the attack.
One of the otters launched an attack on the women, prompting them to call 911 once they managed to escape from the water. All three women required medical attention for their injuries. One woman, who sustained more severe injuries, was airlifted to a hospital.
In response to the incident, Montana FWP has erected signs at various recreational fishing spots, warning visitors about otter activity in the area. For the time being, this is the only measure the agency intends to implement.
Otter attacks are uncommon, but the creatures can become defensive when protecting themselves, their young, or their food sources, especially when approached closely. Otters typically give birth in April and can often be seen with their offspring in the water during the summer months. They may also become protective over food resources when they are scarce.
Montana FWP advises the public to maintain a safe distance from all wildlife to prevent dangerous encounters and to minimize stress on the animals. In the event of an otter attack, the agency recommends fighting back, getting out of the water, and seeking immediate medical attention.