The man, 74-year-old Joe Scaglione, recently spoke with local outlet WPTV about the presumably harrowing experience that occurred outside his home in the Jupiter area last week. At the time of the incident, Scaglione explained, he was minding his own business in his backyard.
"He grabbed me in between the index finger and the thumb and he latched on and he wouldn’t let go," Scaglione recalled. "So I grabbed him by the throat with my left hand and I said, 'Rabid animal. I gotta kill him.'"
Scaglione’s wife, also interviewed by WPTV, heard the sounds of the attack before seeing her husband “full of blood.” According to Scaglione, the otter “kept lunging forward” and ultimately bit him on his hands and legs. A neighbor also heard the attack, at which point he took Scaglione to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Florida’s Palm Beach County Health Department confirmed this week that the otter in question had tested positive for rabies. In a statement, the department also said the otter was responsible for having “bit a dog” in the area on the same day as Scaglione’s attack.
“Residents in the area are cautioned to avoid contact with any wildlife including feral community cats and report suspicious animals to Animal Care and Control,” the department said, adding that rabies can prove fatal if not properly treated.
Following the mayhem, nearby homeowners trapped the otter beneath a recycling bin and cinder blocks before county officials showed up to apprehend it.
Complex has reached out to the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control for comment. This story may be updated.
The Florida otter incident comes mere weeks after a rare otter attack in Montana left three women injured. In response to the attack, local wildlife officials advised residents to "fight back" when faced with a violent otter.