A 12-year-old boy was injured by a ‘rare’ river otter.

A 12-year-old boy was injured by a river otter in Montana on Friday. According to wildlife officials, otter attacks are uncommon; but, a number of conditions, including resource shortages and the defense of young, can prompt an otter to attack a human. With this in mind, officials advise outdoor enthusiasts to give all creatures “ample space.”

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP), two boys were floating down a river near the Powerhouse Fishing Access Site when they observed several otters downstream. Officials said the boys tried to keep a safe distance from the otters, but an otter approached and attacked one of them for unknown reasons. Thankfully, two adjacent campers came to their aid.

According to MFWP, the youngster who was hurt received urgent medical assistance for non-life threatening injuries.

Officials note that while otter attacks are uncommon, otters can be protective of their young and resources, “especially when such resources are low,” according to officials.

Another unprovoked river otter assault occurred in Florida in March 2018. Sue Spector and her husband were kayaking on the Braden River with a party when they came upon the animal. They were “delighted” to see the otter, but their joy soon turned to terror when the otter leapt into the boat and began attacking Spector. After the kayak capsized, the otter swam away, and Spector received stitches, antibiotics, and a rabies vaccination.

The reason for the otter attack remains unknown, as it was last week.

According to the National Park Service, river otters normally breed between late March and early April. Females stay with their young until the following litter, after which they may join other family groups for a brief time.

According to the Undersea Institute of Aquatechnology, otter attacks occur on a yearly basis, with female and young otters being “especially volatile.”

Because the attacks occurred between July and March, it’s plausible that the otters were defending nearby offspring, however this isn’t confirmed. Any recreationists are advised to remain a safe distance from all wildlife, according to wildlife officials.

According to MFWP, “keeping your distance can help minimize dangerous interactions, reduce wildlife stress, and promote healthy animal behavior.”

River otters can be seen from a distance, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). This is a condensed version of the information.