Otters Attack Yet Another Person In California: “I Felt Like They Wanted To Kill Me”

River otter attack
NBC News

Unofficially, 2023 has been the year of the orca whale and otter attacks.

I only say unofficially because we haven’t made it to the end of the year yet. Once we get there, we can gather together all of the animal attacking statistics and officially tally up the numbers, though it has to be close between otters and orcas right now.

When you see an otter (if you ever have), you don’t usually think “wow that thing could really do some damage.” Most of the time you would think they’re too busy living out their little otter lives and doing their little otter tasks to have time to attack human beings.

But as they say, once is an accident, two times is a coincidence, and three times is a pattern. This is the third otter attack reported since the beginning of this past summer, so I’ll be the first to warn you to stay away from those little devil critters.

This time, a man named Matter Leffers was swimming in a California lake when he got ambushed by multiple otters, getting bit over a dozen times, and making the man fear for his life.

Leffers told KCRA 3 News:

“I felt something bite my calf. Within seconds, I was bit again. And then I started swimming fast but there was the otter, popped up right in front of me and then I was bit again.”

They were strategically SURROUNDING him. These otters are getting tactical, and that’s terrifying.

Otters are only known to attack humans or larger animals when they feel threatened, or to defend territory, though the three attacks that have made headlines this year seem mostly unprovoked.

Leffer continued:

“These things were so aggressive that, literally, I felt like they wanted to kill me. It is by far the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had in my life. Nothing even comes close.

I think the fact that I’m the second person attacked here this summer, it’s a big red flag.”

Sounds like they need to shut down that lake for the time being. It belongs to the otters now…

And the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sort of took action in response to the incident, if you count putting out a statement as “taking action.”

The department’s message stated:

“The abundance of fish in the lake is a likely cause for otter presence and behavior.We recommend reducing the frequency of fish stocking and limiting stocking to the non-swimming section of the lake.

The goal of managing the lakes’ fisheries in this way is to reduce the amount of food available in the swimming area, creating an area that is less attractive to the otters.

Additionally, we advise the community members to avoid swimming in the lakes for the remainder of this season, and to increase educational signage in frequently used public areas.”

So like I said, it’s the otter’s lake now.

Telling people to avoid the lake and to have more signs put up does seem a little lazy, and the response certainly didn’t do the trick for Matt Leffers, who narrowly avoided having his obituary read “death by otter.”

Leffers told the department how he really felt, saying:

“Fish and Wildlife has been very wimpy in their response. They need to mitigate the situation before somebody gets killed.”

You can view the news story about the horrifying otter attack below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock