Florida Man Suffers 41 Wounds During Rabid River Otter Attack

While river otter attacks are rare, they will occur if an otter feels threatened, experts say. In this case, the rabies infection likely exacerbated the otter’s aggression. Shayne / Adobe Stock

Joseph Scaglione of Jupiter, Florida received multiple vaccines and other treatment after a rabid 3-year-old river otter attacked his arms, legs, and hands on Sept. 20, the Miami Herald reports. Scaglione, 74, was feeding ducks in a pond near his home at the time. The otter also attacked a neighbor’s dog, although the neighbor remains unidentified.

Scaglione had made a routine of walking to the pond to feed the ducks. He turned around to go home in the late morning but heard all the ducks flush from the pond. When he turned back to see why, he noticed the otter walking along the bank of the pond.

He slowly backed up, still facing the otter, until he made it to the gate in the fence. As he tried to go through the gate, the otter attacked him, first biting and scratching his legs, then eventually his arms and hands. The attack went on for several minutes, leaving Scaglione with 41 wounds.

“I started to push it away, and it started to bite my hands,” Scaglione told WPTV. “One of the bites I have is on my pinkie and it ripped the nail off the pinkie. [It] looks like the tooth went completely through my finger.”

The otter redirected its attention from Scaglione to a neighborhood dog. The Jupiter Police Department eventually trapped the otter under a recycling bin before Palm Beach Animal Care and Control arrived to capture it in a cage. Officials took it to the Florida Department of Health for rabies testing, which required the otter be euthanized. The otter tested positive. The dog was taken to a veterinarian for treatment.

Scaglione received the necessary vaccinations to ward off a rabies infection, which is almost always fatal for humans once signs of infection emerge, according to the World Health Organization. But due to the viral disease’s highly treatable and preventable nature, only two to three humans contract it nationwide each year, the Florida Department of Health reports. Scaglione’s next step is a visit with a hand surgeon to address his most severe wounds.

Read Next: Woman Who Was Brutally Attacked by River Otter Shares Graphic Photos

This attack happened seven weeks to the day after a river otter violently attacked three women floating down Montana’s Jefferson River outside of Bozeman. One victim’s injuries were so severe that she was life-flighted to a hospital in Bozeman for treatment. Photos of her injuries, which surfaced in the days that followed the attack, show just how much damage river otters can do.

The post Florida Man Suffers 41 Wounds During Rabid River Otter Attack appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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