Otter attack: Montana woman savaged, raises 270,000 baht for medical costs

While cute and playful, a Montana learned the hard way that an otter attack is anything but adorable. (via National Wildlife Federation)

In otter news… Although regarded as adorable and gentle creatures, the story of an American woman attacked by an otter has gained international attention. Bozeman, Montana resident 37 year old Jen Royce was unexpectedly mauled by the cute vicious creature during a visit to the Jefferson River to celebrate her birthday in early August.

Royce and her two friends were enjoying a playful swim when the otter lunged and launched a surprise attack. The terrifying, graphic images posted by Royce on Facebook show her injuries from the five-minute-long ordeal in which she was bitten on her face, arms, ear, hands, and legs while struggling to stay afloat in deep water.

“I was trying to defend myself but got attacked again. Once I tried to get a hold of its leg while trying to swim to the shore.”

She added that after a great struggle, she and her friends managed to scramble to the shore, but during the renegade otter attack, her life practically flashed before her eyes.

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“I won’t exaggerate. I swear to God, I didn’t think I’d make it out of that river alive. I didn’t know if my friends would succeed either. But thank God, we did.”

She promptly called the 911 emergency hotline but it took a fair amount of time for help to arrive due to the remote location of the otter attack. Montana is sparsely populated and known for its expanses of nature including the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains and Glacier National Park.

Even after the otter attack ended and Royce was ashore, she told of her fear, believing she was about to die due to heavy blood loss.

“I made my mind up, as the pain was indescribable. I told my friends that I loved them, and asked them to look after my children.”

However, emergency services did eventually reach Royce’s group and rushed her to the hospital. Photographs documenting her blood-soaked face and ear, bearing the bite marks of the otter, caused a significant stir online. Following surgery, she posted an update on Facebook.

“Positive thinking and prayers really exist and are quite powerful right now. I’m lucky. I’m grateful. And I’m still alive.”

Meanwhile, the equivalent of nearly 270,000 baht has been raised through a GoFundMe page to cover her medical costs.

This incident serves as a stark reminder that otters, like most wild animals, can become dangerous if confronted or if they feel their territory is threatened. Even cute and cuddly animals like otters or monkeys can attack, provoked or unprovoked, and can do serious harm to humans.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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