British man escapes 'crazy' otter attack in Singapore park with 26 bites

Man suffers injuries to legs and buttocks in daytime drama

A bevy of smooth coated otters swimming are pictured against the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Wild otters are making a comeback to the urban city state with the increasing numbers of the sea animals sparking concerns about overpopulation. Getty Images

A British man has told of how he was attacked by a family of otters in a Singapore park.

Graham George Spencer feared he would die during the morning incident in the city's Botanic Gardens.

He was pinned down and bitten “26 times in 10 seconds” by the creatures before a friend ran up screaming to scare them away.

“I actually thought I was going to die — they were going to kill me,” he told the Straits Times.

“If it wasn’t for my friend, I don’t think I’d still be here. I’d be dead,” he told another local outlet, Today.

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I actually thought I was going to die – they were going to kill me
Graham George Spencer

The drama unfolded on November 30 when he spotted the otters, whose numbers have swelled in recent years, during a walk in the gardens.

The animals were shuffling along quietly but “went crazy” when another walker ran towards them, Mr Spencer said.

Staff at a nearby visitor centre treated him before he went to the city's Gleneagles hospital where he was given tetanus shots and antibiotics. He had since returned to hospital three times, racking up a $1,200 medical bill.

Singapore Botanic Gardens is investigating the incident, Mr Spencer told the media.

Singapore is reportedly home to about 10 families of otters, or about 90 in total. Their numbers have risen over the years as the city state's polluted river has been cleaned up. In May, a 77-year-old man reportedly was bitten on the leg by an otter while exercising near Kallang River in Singapore.

“DO NOT touch, chase or corner the otters. Observe them from a distance. Going too close to the otters may frighten them,” Singapore’s national parks board said in an advisory on what to do during an encounter with an otter.

A smooth-coated otter eats a fish at Changi beach in Singapore. The population has swollen in recent years as the city-state has cleaned up polluted rivers. AFP
Updated: December 10th 2021, 12:44 PM