'Thought I was going to die': Man attacked by 20 otters at garden

·2-min read

A British man who was bitten 26 times by otters said he "thought he was going to die" in the freak attack.

Graham George Spencer was walking through the Singapore Botanic Gardens in the early hours of November 30 when a group of about 20 otters "went crazy" and began biting his ankles, legs and buttocks.

Mr Spencer's friend — whom he was walking with — scared the animals away by screaming at them and the pair went to the visitors centre for help.

An otter in the water with its mouth open bearing its teeth at something off camera.
The man said he thought he was going to die during the otter attack. Source: Getty

Otters 'went crazy' after jogger ran past

Mr Spencer, who walked into the park using the Taman Seras entrance, believes the group of otters were scared by a passing jogger who may not have seen them as it was still dark.

"Because it was very dark, he never saw them. And he just ran straight into them. And he was treading on them," Mr Spencer told local outlet Mothership.sg.

He said the otters — some who had pups with them— "went crazy" and attacked him after the runner passed them.

A supplied undated photo of the Botanic Gardens in Singapore. Source: AAP
Mr Spencer walked into the park using the Taman Seras entrance (file photo). Source: AAP

Mr Spencer was given bandages by guards at the Botanic Gardens and later went to hospital, where he required stitches and given tetanus shots and oral antibiotics before being discharged on the same day, The Straight Times reports.

A spokesperson for the Singapore Botanic Gardens told publication that "volunteers and staff monitor the movements of the otters".

"[They] educate the public on the importance of observing them from a distance and not interacting with them," they said.

Otter sightings common in Singapore

Dr Tan Puay Yok, group director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, told the publication that the National Parks Board, who manage the gardens, said visitors should observe otters from a safe distance, and avoid feeding or approaching them, especially “when there are pups as the adults can be protective over their young”.

"The Singapore Botanic Gardens’ volunteers and staff monitor the movements of the otters and educate the public on the importance of observing them from a distance and not interacting with them," he added.

According to National Geographic, otters are native to Singapore but for many years the population was virtually nonexistent due to major development in the 1960s and 1970s, which destroyed the animal's habitat and led to widespread pollution of the waterways.

They returned in the 1990s after the government cleaned up the rivers.

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