DIVIDE – A 12-year-old boy from Butte was injured by an otter while floating on the Big Hole River west of Divide on Friday.
Two boys were floating on inner tubes about a half mile upstream from the Powerhouse Fishing Access Site when they observed several otters downstream. They tried to keep their distance from the otters, but one of the otters approached and attacked one of the boys. Two adults who were camping nearby helped drive the otters away and bring the boys to safety.
Fortunately, the boy was able to receive prompt treatment for injuries that were not life threatening. The other boy was not injured.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff have signed several fishing access sites in the area advising recreationists of the incident. No further management action is planned at this time.
While attacks from otters are rare, otters can be protective of their young. They give birth to their young in April and can later be seen with their young in the water during the summer. They may also be protective of food resources, especially when those resources are scarce. Otters are members of the weasel family.
FWP advises recreationists to give all wildlife plenty of space. In drought conditions, low water levels can bring recreationists closer to water-dwelling wildlife. Keeping your distance can help avoid dangerous encounters, reduce stress for wildlife and promote healthy animal behavior.