I follow Austin, Texas swimming guru Pam LaBlanc because she finds the oddest aquatic stories. This one comes from the murky waters of Island Lake, north of Duluth, Minnesota.
Apparently fresh water lakes are not as safe as you might’ve thought. Otters attack!
“Fangs pierced (Triathlete) Leah Prudhomme’s legs as she swam through the deep, dark, rum-colored waters of Island Lake, as reported by Kelly Smith of the Minnesota Tribune. It could be anything, she thought — muskrats, beavers, maybe a muskie. But it didn’t let up. In the middle of the lake north of Duluth, the triathlete struggled as the animal sunk its needle-sharp teeth into her legs, feet and back, leaving 25 bite marks, some 2 inches deep.”
Sounds brutal. I mean, open water swimmers have hairy stories of wiggling fish caught in their suits or fighting through a mass of stinging jellyfish, but getting mauled by a beaver creeps me out.
As a point of fact, the creature was an otter. Prudhomme, the 33 year old triathlete, managed to get a glimpse while thrashing about, spotting the long, flat tail, tiny eyes and gray head.
Prudhomme got rabies shots fearing the animal was stricken by the disease or protecting her pups.
While attacks are rare, one was reported as recently as 2009 by swimmers in Lake Owen.