Days after otter attacks, FWC issues warning to Braden River boaters

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 5:29 PM EDT

After two reports of otter attacks on boaters in the Braden River in as many days, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has posted warnings to boaters about the potential hazard.

  • First attack reported March 3
  • Sue Spector, 77, attacked while boating March 4
  • Warning posted at Linger Lodge

Sue Spector, 77, was the second otter attack victim. She and her husband were out in kayaks on the river March 4 when they spotted an otter swimming close by. In a matter of seconds things took a turn for a worse.

“All of a sudden he jumped on the back of the kayak and lunged at me," Spector said. "Then the next few minutes were just a blur -- I was screaming to try and scare him, but that didn’t budge him.”

Spector said the otter first jumped onto her back, before clawing at her head and face. The group she was kayaking with rushed to her aid.

“Two women are over by the grasses, just whacking at the otter, trying to get him to leave," said Marsha Wikle, who organized the trip.

After more than a dozen doctors visits, Spector is on the mend. Nine days after the attack, she still has stitches marking her ear and nose. Her left arm is bandaged up from the bite marks.

“I’m on two antibiotics, I’ve had four trips to the health department for anti rabies shots," she explained.

Sue Spector, 77, is recovering from being attacked by an aggressive otter while kayaking in the Braden River on March 4, 2018. (Angie Angers, staff)

A spokesperson for FWC says this was the second report of an otter attack on Braden River. The first was made the day before.

Notices from FWC warning boaters of an aggressive otter are posted at Linger Lodge, the spot the group took off from.

“They were at the perfect place for someone at their skill level and at their age to be, at a quiet river like the Braden River," Wikle said.

Sue says this rare attack won't stop her, and she plans to get back out on the water once she has healed.

“I will -- just not where I was when I was injured," she said.