Brit attacked by pack of 20 feral otters ‘thought he was going to die’

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A ferocious pack of otters attacked a British man on his routine morning walk through Singapore Botanical Gardens biting him more than 20 times and sending him to hospital.

The incident took place when Graham George Spencer, 60, was walking through the gardens with a friend on November 30 at around 6.40am.

The Singapore permanent resident told The Straits Times that he had spotted around 20 otters crossing a dimly lit path about 4 metres in front of him – the first time he had seen otters since he started walking through the gardens five months ago.

The animals were moving quietly however "went crazy" when a jogger ran towards them. After trying to attack the runner, who managed to escape, the otters began to attack Spencer.

The pack of otters went for the Brit's ankles, causing him to fall face down. They then started to bite his legs and buttocks and even a finger, only stopping for a moment when Spencer's friend started to scream and yell.

Spencer said: "They must have thought I was (the runner).

"I actually thought I was going to die – they were going to kill me."

Spencer and his friend made a dash to the visitor centre, with the otters chasing for part of the way, where he was treated before going to hospital to receive $1200 worth of treatment of the course of three visits including tetanus shots, oral antibiotics and stiches.

The attack has left Spencer unable to sleep well and he has difficulty sitting. He also doesn't know if he is well enough to return to Britain for Christmas as planned.

A representative from the Singapore Botanic Gardens told Spencer the authorities are investigating the incident.

It is believed that Spencer was attacked by a family of smooth-coated otters that have frequently visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens over the last few years.

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Dr Tan Puay Yok, group director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, said visitors should observe wildlife from a safe distance, and avoid feeding or approaching them, especially "when there are pups as the adults can be protective over their young”.

Otters are not typically aggressive creatures and attacks are rare, yet they do happen.

Earlier this year, reports of angry otter gangs attacking adults, children and dogs in Anchorage, Alaska near creeks, rivers and lake made the headlines, and a 77-year old man and five-year-old girl were bitten in separate incidents in Singapore which took place in May this year and in 2017.

  • Animals

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