When you think of wildlife in Montana, otters are likely not the first animal that pops into your head.

But the Northern River Otter calls a number Montana bodies of water home. And with adults growing to nearly four feet and weighing around 20 pounds with 36 teeth, as adorable as they look, they are not a species to take lightly. Especially - like with any wildlife - they perceive a threat to their young.

The story from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks would suggest that harassment was not happening here. These kids just had bad timing. But one grumpy otter got a bit territorial.

Montana FWP tells us that a 12-year-old boy from Butte was injured by an otter while floating on the Big Hole River west of Divide over the weekend. 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 and Parks staff did post signage at several fishing access sites in the area advising recreationists of the incident.

While attacks from otters are rare, they 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. FWP reminds you that keeping your distance can help avoid dangerous encounters, reduce stress for wildlife and promote healthy animal behavior.

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