Roving Gang of 20 Otters Kicks Man’s Ass in Singapore

An unfortunate case of mistaken identity

SINGAPORE, March 2, 2021 -- A pack of wild smooth-coated otters, nicknamed the "Zouk family," crosse...
Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images
Smooth-Coated Criminals

This is an otter:


This is an otter looking very cute and cuddly:


This is an otter when it is pissed off:


Now imagine about 20 of those crazy little fuckers coming right at you like something out of a nightmare, their little bodies waddling swiftly, hisses and growls coming out of their sharp-toothed mouths. Not so cute anymore, right? Wrong, they’re still cute, but they are also capable of inflicting bodily harm.

A British man was greeted by that terrifying vision recently while on an early morning walk in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Around 6:40 a.m. on November 30, Singapore resident Graham George Spencer was taking a routine stroll through the garden with a friend when he saw 20 otters — an increasingly common sight in the city-state — crossing a path ahead of him, the Straits Times reports. According to Spencer, the otters suddenly “went crazy” after a jogger ran near them and, after trying and failing to bite the runner in motion, went after the nearby Spencer. They bit him on the ankles, causing him to fall over, and then attacked his legs, butt, and finger.

The onslaught lasted 10 to 12 seconds, during which Spencer was bitten 26 times, he told the local outlet Today. “I actually thought I was going to die — they were going to kill me,” he later told the Straits Times.

The otters reportedly temporarily halted their assault when Spencer’s friend shouted at them, creating an opportunity for the two friends to run towards a visitor’s center, with the animals chasing them for a short distance.

Spencer went to the hospital, where he received tetanus shots, oral antibiotics, and stitches. The cost of that visit, plus three subsequent visits to treat his injuries, was about $1,200 Singapore dollars ($880 USD), he told news outlets.

While otter attacks are rare, there have been similar incidents in recent years in Singapore, which is home to about 10 otter families, per the Guardian. Animal experts told Today that the otters likely went berserk because the presence of their young pups triggered a “defensive response”; in the dim light, they possibly mistook Spencer for the jogger who spooked them, resulting in them regrettably going ham on his legs and subsequently pinning him to the ground for 10 to 12 seconds of unbelievable terror and torment.

Bernard Seah, a member of the Otter Working Group, which tracks the movements of Singapore’s otter population, told the Straits Times that he believes the smooth-coated assailants were the “Zouk family” of otters, which is typically “the most human-tolerant otter family” in the area. OtterCity, a community of fans of Singapore’s otters, described the Zouk family as one that “was displaced by other families and have been wandering, searching for a permanent home” before finally finding a sanctuary in the botanic gardens.

“We have been watching otters in Singapore for many years,” OtterCity posted. “Our tip for not getting bitten all these years is simply this — respect their space.” So if you find yourself in Singapore, give those adorable, pointy-toothed little terrors a wide berth lest you end up their next victim.