On Wednesday evening, three women were reportedly attacked by otters while floating the Jefferson River.
According to Jefferson County Sheriff Tom Grimsrud, a call was received at 8:51 pm that a group of river otters had attacked the women floating on inner tubes.
The attack resulted in serious injuries to one woman; she was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Bozeman with severe bites to her face, arms, and legs, requiring surgery and hundreds of stitches.
The other two women also sustained numerous lacerations in the attack and were treated at the hospital.
The incident occurred on the river in Jefferson County between the talc mine and LaHood restaurant.
One of the woman who was attacked posted on social media:
Around 8:15pm the otters attacked us. We were in the middle of the river in a deep and wide stretch that went far back from the road and behind the mountains. I saw one otter right behind my friend before it attacked. I didn’t even have a chance to get the words “there is an otter behind you” out of me before it attacked her.
This thing was vicious and relentless. It bit my face in several places, both of my ears, by arms, my hands, my legs, my thighs, and my ankle. My friends were bit on the hands and on their bottoms. One friend’s thumb was SHREDDED and she has bite marks all over her body as well.
I want to make this VERY clear because what happened has been turned (from some “kind people” on the internet) into insane victim blaming all over social media. People who don’t know or care have made this an incident of us trying to take selfies with these creatures or like we were trying to get too close to them. We did NOT do that. We were in the middle of the river at a wide stretch, not near the shore, and we didn’t even know the otter/otters were there until we were attacked.
Otter attacks have been reported in 2021 on the Big Hole River, and in 2013 near West Yellowstone on the Madison River.
We will update you if we get more information.