MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The FWC says it is investigating reports of kayakers being bitten by river otters in Manatee County.
The incidents happened over the weekend on the Braden River, east of I-75.
On Saturday, the FWC received a report of two people who were injured after being bitten by a river otter while they were kayaking. The report also said the otter was acting aggressive and chasing boats on the river.
The FWC received two more reports on Sunday from kayakers who said they had been bitten by a river otter. Sunday’s incidents happened within two miles of the incidents on Saturday, FWC officials say.
Witnesses said the river otter came into contact with an alligator after the attacks on Sunday and appeared to be injured. FWC officials do not know if the otter survived the run-in with the gator.
In a statement, a spokesman for the FWC said the organization takes public safety very seriously. FWC officers were at the scene Monday searching for the aggressive otter. Biologists are also planning to place flyers at two boat ramps along the Braden River to notify visitors of the otter.
The Manatee County Department of Health is working with the FWC on the case. They say, even though none have tested positive, one concern is that river otters can transmit rabies.
If you’re ever bitten or scratched by a wild animal, you should seek medical attention immediately and call the Florida Department of Health at (941) 748-0747.
If you see any unusual or aggressive behavior from a river otter, or to report a sighting, you should call the FWC at (888) 404-3922.