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British man recounts attack by otters in Singapore gardens

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By Reuters
British man recounts attack by otters in Singapore gardens
British man recounts attack by otters in Singapore gardens   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Chen Lin

SINGAPORE – A British man taking an early morning walk in Singapore Botanic Gardens said he was attacked by a pack of wild otters, leaving him with 26 wounds on his buttocks, legs and fingers.

Graham Spencer, in his 60s, was on his usual 6 a.m. walk in the gardens on Nov. 30, when a “convoy” of about 20 otters ambushed him, causing him to fall, and trampled and bit him.

“The whole process was 10 or 12 seconds, I couldn’t move…I thought I was going to die. If they bite my face or my neck, I’m dead,” he told Reuters.

Spencer escaped when his friend ran over to scream at the otters and pulled him away.

Animal welfare groups said it is rare for otters to attack humans unless they feel threatened. Spencer said he thought the otters mistook him for a runner who had run past him, stepping on one of the animals in the dim early morning light.

Spencer, a permanent resident of Singapore, said he hoped the authorities would put in place measures such as more solar-powered lights along the pathways.

“I weighed more than 200 pounds and I couldn’t get up without my friend’s help, if the otters had attack a girl or child, they surely could not have survived,” Spencer said.

Singapore Botanic Gardens did not immediately respond to request for comment on Saturday.