How To Deal With Otters - News, Sports and Weather

How To Deal With Otters

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On Friday, a family lost their Lab when a group of otters drowned the dog on Echo Lake. This makes the third incident of otter violence this month.

Five-year-old Trudy, a Yellow Lab, loves the water at Echo Lake, and so does her owner, Penny Richardson.

"It's always warm here, the water's warm," said Richardson.

She and her friends come to Echo Lake about once a week for one of their favorite summer pastimes: ottering.

"It all started when my husband and I were watching some nature show," explained Richardson, "There were all these beavers being really industrious, cutting down trees and making dams, then it switched to otters and so the otters were goin' up the hill and slidin' down into the water just havin' a great time so my husband looked at me and says 'I'm a beaver you're an otter.'"

Not all days on the lake are so peaceful. Friday evening, a group of otters attacked and drowned a Black Lab about Trudy's size in these waters. However, this kind of violence is rare, according to wildlife manager Jim Williams.

"We have literally hundreds of thousands of swimmers in the summer here with no issues," said Williams, "so I wouldn't worry really at all."

Williams said he believes the two otter attacks this month can likely be chalked up to maternal instinct.

"This adult female was probably defending her kids," he explained, "In this case she probably perceived the dog in the lake as a threat and acted accordingly."

Most people, Richardson included, never lay eyes on an otter. Williams says common sense is key for the few who get to see these elusive critters.

"If it's a family unit no matter what type of mammal it is you know, be very careful and give it space," said Williams.

When asked if she plans to visit some other spot instead of Echo Lake in light of the latest otter attacks, Richardson answered with a resounding "no!"

Currently FWP is not actively searching for the otters that attacked on Friday.

While threats from otters are rare in Montana, Williams mentioned that the state with the most otter attacks is Florida.

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