Minnesota Woman Attacked by Otter

The attack left the triathlete with 25 bite marks

By Ashley Welch
|  Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012  |  Updated 11:33 AM EDT
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While training for her second Ironman Triathlon, a Minnesota woman was attacked by an otter that animal experts think was trying to protect its young.

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Triathletes must endure a number of obstacles – but fighting off otters usually isn’t one of them.

A Minnesota woman is recovering from an unexpected attack where she was bitten 25 times by an otter in a lake north of Duluth last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The incident left Leah Prudhomme, who was training for her second Ironman Triathlon, with marks on her legs, feet and back.

"It would dive under water and I didn't know where I was going to get bit next," Prudhomme, 33, told ABC News affiliate KSTP.

Prudhomme said her wet suit, which was shredded during the attack, most likely saved her from additional injuries. She received rabies shots for every bite, plus tetanus and antibiotic shots, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Conservation experts were baffled by the rare attack.

"I've never seen or heard of it before," Mike Scott, a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Duluth, told the Tribune. "We've got otters everywhere ... lakes, streams. Most times, [swimmers] wouldn't even know it. Otters usually stay away."

The Department of Natural Resources said there have only been 40 otter attacks in the U.S. in the last 20 years, according to KSTP. Animal experts said the otter may have been a mother attempting to protect her young.
 

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