Three women suffered injuries in an otter attack in Montana’s Jefferson River this week, wildlife officials said.
The attack took place about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday while three women floated on inner tubes about three miles upstream from Sappington Bridge, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) said in a news release.
“An otter approached and attacked them. The women got out of the water, and the otter swam away,” the release said.
The women called 911 and several agencies responded, including the Montana Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson Valley Ambulance, and FWP.
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One woman’s injuries were serious
All three women were injured and received medical treatment in Bozeman, FWP reported. One of them, whose injuries were more serious, was taken to the hospital in a helicopter.
As a result of the attack, signs are now posted at fishing access sites in the area advising recreationists of “otter activity.”
While attacks from otters are rare, otters can be protective of themselves and their young at close distances.
According to FWP, the animal birth their young in April and are seen with their young in the water during the summer. They may also be protective of food resources, especially when those resources are scarce.
FWP advises recreationists to keep a significant distance, giving otters and other wildlife space.
“In drought conditions, low water levels can bring recreationists closer to water-dwelling wildlife,” FWP posted in the release. “Being aware and keeping your distance can help avoid dangerous encounters, reduce stress for wildlife, and promote healthy animal behavior. If you are attacked by an otter, fight back, get away and out of the water, and seek medical attention.”
Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Otter attack: 3 women injured in Montana on Jefferson River