Wildlife Officials Baffled After Otter Pack Attacks People For No Apparent Reason

There are a lot of animals we can see out in the wild, but there's something deceptive we tend to miss about the cute ones.

For instance, most of us would know to avoid approaching any bears or mountain lions that we come across because we've got a pretty good idea as to what would happen if one of them took a swipe at us.

But every now and then, we can find that some of the smaller and cuter wild animals can be about as vicious. And while the answer for why they're acting that way is often rabies, that still doesn't seem to explain one bizarre series of encounters going on in Alaska.

Indeed, nobody seems to know what's going on.

The area around Anchorage, Alaska is known to feature North American river otters and they're usually fairly peaceful creatures.

According to Insider, only 39 otter attacks were reported before 2011 and they were usually the result of rabies or encroachment from humans into otter territory.

Since September 1 of this year, however, neither of these explanations have applied to at least one otter pack's behavior.

In the first of three incidents reported by Insider, nine-year-old Ayden Fernandez received four bite wounds after he and his brother filmed a group of four otters at an east Anchorage duck pond.

As Dave Battle — a wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game — said, "I think they were keeping a respectful distance, they were just watching the otters from a distance, and for some reason, the otter ran up and just wanted to chase this kid down."

The other two attacks occurred within the last week and saw the otters attack a dog in one case and a woman trying to protect her dog in another.

It's unclear if either of these animals provoked the pack either, but rabies is not a suspected cause as no recent cases of the disease have been discovered among otter populations in that region of Alaska.

But while there's much that fish and game officials don't know about these attacks, they do suspect that it involves the same pack of otters.

Although this is unconfirmed, Battle stated that his organization is "probably" dealing with just one group consisting of three males and one female.

As he put it, "It's such unusual behavior. It would be unlikely that multiple groups in the same city would suddenly start exhibiting the same type of behavior."

Whatever the reason these otters are acting so aggressive, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has stated that it will identify them and remove them from the park they reside in.

h/t: Insider