I played rugby in high school and we treated our injuries like badges of honor. My teammates and I loved comparing cuts and bruises and retelling the stories as if they were war stories. We were only a little proud.
But what if your story involved a possibly rabid otter? 77-year-old Sue Spector certainly has an otter-ly unbelievable tale to tell.
On March 4, 2018, Sue, along with her husband Marty and a few others, set out on the Braden River in central Florida. The goal? A peaceful morning spent kayaking.
Marsha Wikle, the guide of the group, told everyone to keep their eyes open for wildlife because she had seen otters a few weeks earlier.
So when the group spotted those adorable otter faces, they were so excited! But as soon as they were pointed out, one of the otters jumped on Spector’s kayak and then onto her back.
He began scratching, clawing and biting her. Spector began screaming and her husband began trying to get the otter off of her.
Both of their kayaks flipped, putting the couple in danger of drowning. The other women who were near by started blowing their whistles to alert Wikle who was a little farther back.
When she paddled up to the scene, Wikle witnessed both Spector and her husband in the water and two other women defending themselves against the otter with their paddles. She also noticed that Spector was injured. “He did serious damage to her nose,” Wikle said. “He bit off a piece of her ear.”
Wikle helped drain the capsized kayaks and make sure everyone was back in their boats. But as the group set their course for the launch site, the otter began chasing them.
“Within five minutes, the otter was chasing us,” Wikle said. “I just said, ‘Paddle like hell, everyone.'”
The made it back safely, though, and Sue went to the emergency room to receive stitches and begin treatment for rabies.
She is thankful for her sun hat and thick life jacket which prevented further, more critical injuries.
It turns out that this may have actually been the otter’s second attack. Just a day before, a different kayaker went to the hospital for the same reason. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has posted a sign warning people of the “aggressive otter” and are looking for it so they can prevent future attacks.
Even so, Spector won’t let this unusual event keep her from getting back out on the water. “I’ll go back out kayaking as soon as I heal enough,” Spector told Fox 13. Basically, she’s choosing to turn the otter cheek…
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