A serene trip turned life-threatening when a river otter surprisingly attacked a 77-year-old woman kayaking in Florida last weekend.
Sue Spector was kayaking with a group of about 10 people Sunday morning on Braden River in west-central Florida when an otter climbed onto her kayak and then jumped on her, she told Tampa Bay's Fox 13.
The animal clawed, scratched and bit her arms, nose and ear, she told Fox. As she fought to beat the animal off, her kayak flipped, Fox reports, leaving her in neck-deep cold water still battling the possibly rabid animal.
"I took my paddle, and I tried to get him off of me, and he wouldn't let go and I kept screaming, I kept beating him with a paddle," Spector said. "When you're (in the middle of) it you don't have a lot of thought except you hope you survive."
Spector's nearby husband also beat the otter with his paddle, and it let go, leaving Spector needing stitches and rabies treatment, Fox reports.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson told the Bradenton Herald it has heard of at least four injuries because of an aggressive otter — two people were bitten last Saturday and two others Sunday.
Some witnesses reported a river otter came in contact with an alligator and appeared injured, Tampa's WFLA-TV reported.
"This is extremely unusual behavior for otters,” Marsha Wikle, a former forester who leads kayak groups through the Braden River told the Herald.