River Otter Attack Prompts Warning from PGC
FRANKLIN – A Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) is investigating the case of a river otter attacking an angler around 2 p.m. Sept. 11 at the junction of French Creek and the Allegheny River, just off Ninth Street, adjacent to the Riverfront Park in Franklin, Venango County.
WCO Ronda Bimber is urging the public to notify her through the agency’s Northwest Region Office with any information about the situation. Calls can be placed to the Northwest Region office at 814-432-3187.
“This area is frequently used by the public, so we are encouraging park users to look out for any suspicious activity by river otters,” said WCO Bimber, who will be checking the area. “At this point, it is not clear what initiated the attack.”
According to Bimber, a 27-year-old Franklin man was wet wading and observed a river otter on the bike trail side of the river.
“The individual fishes the area often and said he didn’t find the presence of a river otter to be unusual,” Bimber said. “He heard the otter enter the water and watched it swim at a diagonal to his position.
“The otter then turned and swam directly toward him. He made noise and slapped the water with his fishing rod unsuccessfully. The otter dove and proceeded to bite and scratch the victim.
“The angler sustained five bites to the leg and one on his big toe, along with numerous scratches to his legs. The incident ended when he was able to kick the otter in the head.”
Following the attack, the angler got out of the water to seek medical attention. As he left the water, he lost sight of the otter. He sought medical attention.