Otters may seem harmless, but a chance encounter with them can be dangerous.
Crystal Finn, known for her role in "Succession," experienced this firsthand when she was attacked by several angry otters while swimming in Northern California's River of Feathers in July. The bites were so severe that she had to seek medical treatment at the hospital.
"I felt something on my back and leg," Finn told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I looked around and yelled, and that's when the otters appeared. They immediately dived down and started attacking me again."
Although Finn is unsure of the reason behind the attack, she believes it might have been a mother otter protecting her offspring since she spotted three of them shortly before being bitten. As she struggled to reach the shore, the otters followed her and continued to bite. Finn fought back with her feet and sought refuge on a rock.
"I could see the bites on my legs, and I felt like they bit me in the butt - that was the worst part, but I couldn't see it," shared Finn. "The bites were incredibly painful, almost unbearable."
What happened next?
Finn, who portrayed Lauren Pawson in episode 8 ("America Decides") of the fourth season of "Succession," received treatment at Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee.
Otter attacks are rare, with only 59 recorded incidents worldwide since 1875, according to the Daily Montanan. Heidi Eiland, an expert on otter behavior and a professor at Pacific University in Oregon, explained that otters can become aggressive when defending their territory, offspring, or food, supporting Finn's theory. Mother otters typically teach their pups how to survive independently in June and July, including swimming. They must actively seek human contact during this time, which can pose a potential problem.
"If you spot an otter nearby while in the water, the best advice is to get out of the water," advised Eiland. "On land, you have the advantage. In the water, they do."
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks advises people to avoid interactions with wildlife in the water.
Finn Masada, a resident of Northern California, also urges caution while swimming in the area's waters. Despite encountering the otters, Finn admitted that she wouldn't have stopped swimming even if she had seen them earlier.
"It could have been much worse," Finn reflected, considering that she had contemplated taking her young daughter swimming in the same river. This summer has already seen several reports of injuries related to otter attacks.
Jen Royce, a woman from Montana, nearly lost half her ear and required multiple stitches on her face after an otter attack while bathing in a river.
On August 2, three more women were injured by otters while swimming in the Jefferson River in Montana. Another otter attack was documented in Northern California.