A British man feared for his life when he was attacked by a romp of otters in the Singapore Botanic Gardens on Nov. 30.
Otter chaos: Graham George Spencer, a maid agency owner and permanent Singapore resident in his 60s, was walking in the gardens when he was attacked by about 20 otters and bitten “26 times in 10 seconds,” according to the Independent.
- Spencer suspected that the otters, who had been traveling quietly, were startled by a jogger. They reportedly “went crazy” and bit at the jogger who dodged them.
- “Because it was very dark, he never saw them. And he just ran straight into them. And he was treading on them,” Spencer told Mothership.
- The otters then targeted Spencer, who was nearby. The mammals only paused when his friend doubled back and shouted at them to get away. Spencer sustained puncture wounds on his finger, ankles, legs and backside and required stitches for some.
- Spencer was treated at the Gleneagles Hospital and given tetanus shots and antibiotics. He said he had trouble sitting and sleeping because of the wounds and paid 1,200 Singaporean dollars (approximately $880 U.S.) in medical fees for his three visits.
- “I actually thought I was going to die — they were going to kill me,” he told The Straits Times.
Responses: Despite his injuries, Spencer doesn’t wish to get rid of the otters, as some have campaigned for in the past.
- “I don’t blame the otters at all,” he told Mothership. “What I want to do is make sure that there’s an area within [the] lake that they can live happily. We can look at them and be nice to look at them. But I don’t have to worry that they’re going to set upon me when I’m there.”
- Bernard Seah, a local otter photographer, told BBC that the specific otter romp that attacked the “Zouk family” is typically “the most human-tolerant otter family” in the city-state. The animals most likely thought they were being threatened and attacked the wrong person in a fit of confusion.
- Singapore Botanic Gardens Group Director Dr. Tan Puay Yok said the National Parks Board knows about the incident and is in contact with Spencer.
- In the end, Co-CEO of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society Singapore Anbarasi Boopal points out, these are wild animals.
- “As Singapore grows into a city, in nature, encounters with wild animals will soon become inevitable. So the golden rule is really to keep a safe distance from the animals,” she added.
- The otter population in Singapore has continued to thrive over the years as the city-state has moved towards green efforts for its surrounding environment.
Featured Image via Disney Plus / “Zootopia”