- Graham George Spencer said 20 otters charged him after a jogger spooked them in Singapore.
- Spencer told local media he was bitten 26 times and that he has since paid $877 medical bills.
- Otter attacks are rare, but Singapore is struggling to address a growing otter population.
A man attacked by a pack of otters in Singapore described his ordeal, telling local media he thought he was going to die.
Graham George Spencer, a British man in his 60s, was attacked as he walked in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens with a friend on November 30, he told The Straits Times.
Recounting the incident, Spencer said paused his walk at 6:40 a.m. to observe around 20 otters crossing the path ahead of him. When a jogger came around the bend, he said, they “went crazy.”
The otters charged at him, he said, pushing him “to the floor.”
They bit him “26 times in 10 seconds,” he told local outlet Today, targeting the legs, buttocks, and hands.
“I actually thought I was going to die — they were going to kill me,” he told The Straits Times.
Spencer said his friend got the otters to stop by running over at them and screaming. They tried to escape, he said, but were pursued by the otters.
After a while, he said, the otters backed away. Spencer said he got medical help from park staff, who took him to Gleneagles Hospital.
He was given stitches, a tetanus shot, and
, The Straits Times said. Spencer told the outlet that he spent $1,200 Singapore dollars ($877) on medical bills.
Authorities at the Botanic Gardens are investigating the incident, Spencer said.
Otter attacks on humans are very rare, but not unheard of, Dr Tan Puay Yok, group director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, told The Straits Times.
“When there are pups as the adults can be protective over their young,” he said.
The attack on Spencer comes as Singapore is struggling to contain its growing population of otters, who’ve eaten their way through thousands of dollars worth of expensive koi fish.
As Insider’s Julie Gerstein has reported, the official number of otters living in and around Singapore is around 100, but sightings have become more common in recent years.
Otters have seemingly become more bold in their attempts to find food, perhaps a result of COVID-19 restrictions on the city in 2020 and 2021 limiting the movement of people.