A Singapore resident was hospitalized after a bizarre animal attack when he was attacked by a group of otters who bit him 26 times. “I really thought I was going to die – they were going to kill me,” said UK native Graham George Spencer.
The unusual attack happened while he was walking with a friend in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Spencer, who is in his 60s, was approaching the visitor center when he noticed about 20 otters running across the dimly lit walkway in front of him.
He said it was the first time he had seen otters in the area, even though he had been taking morning walks here for five months. At that time, a man ran by and they “got mad as dogs” and tried to bite the passerby.
Fortunately, the jogger managed to escape, but the water otters pounced on Spencer, who thought they had mistaken him for a jogger.
According to media reports, the vicious otters kicked him in the ankles, pushed him down and jumped on top of Spencer before they began biting the lying man’s legs, shoes and buttocks, and one of them bit his toe.
“I was bitten 26 times in 10 seconds,” recalled a shocked Spencer.
Salvation came after the victim’s friend, who was 15 paces away, ran up to him screaming and yelling, trying to scare the otters away.
The pesky creatures stopped attacking for a moment, allowing Spencer to get up and run away. The pair then ran toward the visitor center, with the otters chasing them a short distance away.
Shortly thereafter, a security guard treated Spencer’s wounds with bandages and offered to call an ambulance. Doctors gave Spencer tetanus shots and oral antibiotics, sewed up his wounds, and discharged him the same day. The patient claims he returned to the hospital three times after that, paying about $1,200 in medical bills.
Spencer, who reportedly cannot sleep or sit because of the bites on his lower body, said he may even have to cancel an upcoming Christmas trip to the United Kingdom because of his ill health.
Nevertheless, he considers himself lucky to be alive.
“If it wasn’t for my friend, I don’t think I’d still be here,” said the grateful fellow, who has since held a meeting about the attack with representatives of the establishment, and a spokesman said an investigation is underway.
In response to the incident, Dr. Tan Puai Yok, the park’s director, urges visitors to watch for otters at a distance and avoid feeding or interacting with them, especially when their cubs are around. The park has also posted signs at the entrance to the park warning visitors about aggressive animals.
Experts said otter attacks are extremely rare.
Bernard C., a member of OtterWatch and Otter Working Group, which tracks otter attacks, said Spencer’s attackers were a pack of smooth-haired otters called the “Zook family,” which are reportedly “the most human-tolerant family of otters” in Singapore.
“In my years of documenting otter behavior, I have never heard of such an aggressive attack.”