In an unusual and terrifying encounter, Matt Leffers was attacked by otters while swimming in Serene Lakes, Placer County, resulting in approximately 40 puncture wounds from at least 12 bites. Leffers, who has been swimming in the lake for three decades without incident, was suddenly confronted by the aggressive otters, leading him to fear for his life during the attack. His wife ultimately rescued him, and he was taken to the hospital for treatment, where he was left with lasting scars.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the attack and noted that it was the second such incident in the area during the summer. Additionally, otter attacks on dogs were reported in the Redding area. While otter attacks on humans are extremely rare, they can occur if otters feel their territory is threatened. The high fish population in Serene Lakes is believed to be a factor attracting and emboldening the otters.
Leffers criticized the response from the wildlife department as insufficient, urging more decisive action to address the risk of otter attacks. State officials are working to assess the otter population in the lake and develop a strategy based on their findings. The incident at Serene Lakes is part of a series of otter attacks reported across the United States, highlighting the potential dangers of wildlife encounters and the need for increased awareness and safety measures in natural habitats.