LAKE STEVENS, Wash. — A river otter attacked and injured a boy and his grandmother in the Pilchuck River at Lake Connor Park Thursday morning, the Lake Stevens Fire Department confirmed.
The department said the injured boy, described as being under 10, was taken to the hospital in stable condition with lacerations to his head, but his grandmother was in serious condition with several lacerations to the face and head.
According to the newspaper, state Department of Fish & Wildlife Capt. Alan Myers said the boy was swimming in the river with his grandmother at about 11 a.m. when the otter attacked. Why the otter attacked remained a mystery.
Myers said the boy likely would need stitches and his grandmother had a severe eye injury.
Ruth Milner, a wildlife biologist with the DFW, told the Herald that river otters are not common in the area and that otter attacks are uncommon.
Myers told the paper that signs were being posted around Lake Connor Park and along the river where the attack happened.
As of Thursday night, the otter had not been found. If caught, the otter may be relocated or euthanized.
An adult river otter can weigh between 11 and 30 pounds.
A member of the weasel family, the river otter is versatile in water or on land. It establishes a burrow close to the water’s edge and its den typically has many tunnel openings, one of which generally allows the otter to enter and exit the body of water. Female otters give birth in these underground burrows, producing litters of one to six young.
North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume amphibians, such as frogs, turtles and crayfish. Instances of river otters eating small mammals and occasionally birds have been reported as well.