A river otter attacked both an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother on Thursday in Washington’s Pilchuck River, sending them both to the hospital.
The pair were swimming in the river when the boy was suddenly attacked by the otter, according to KING5. The grandmother stepped in to help rescue the boy, but she too suffered injuries.
“All of a sudden I just heard him scream for his life,” the boy’s mother, Tabitha Moser, said. “He was just bobbing up and down in the water and as he came up there was something all the way on top of his head.”
Moser added that the otter continued to attack the grandmother as they climbed out of the river. “It was biting her as I was dragging her out of the river.”
The Mirror reports that the pair suffered lacerations to their upper bodies and hands. Reportedly the grandmother could possibly lose an eye.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have so far been unable to capture the oter, but say that they will likely have to put it down after testing it for rabies.
Still, the attack surprised them. “Those animals do not have a tendency for aggression,” Captain Alan Myers said. “It’s not yet known if this was a female trying to protect her pups, or an aggressive male protecting territory.”