Unlikely River Animal Attacks Swimming Teen.
A Central California teen is recovering after being attacked by a group of otters while swimming in Lake Shasta.
Erin Vanduzer, 17, was swimming in the lake when a group of five otters, adults and babies, swam towards her.
"One of the otters actually climbed up on her back while the other otters were under the surface of the water, biting her under the water," Shasta-Trinity National Forest spokeswoman Cris Hartman said.
"She had just been bitten around the arms, the legs, the back of the head and neck – just puncture wounds. She was pretty tore up," Packers Bay Marina spokesman Vinny Villano said.
Officials said that Vanduzer had more than 30 puncture wounds on her body.
Wildlife officials said that severity of the incident is "unprecedented," but three major incidents involving otters have been reported at Shasta Lake in the last month. They also said that it is unusual for otters to attack, but that they do have strong protective instincts.
"It may have been close enough that the otters felt that their dens were jeopardized. It also could have been a female with her young," Hartman said.
Vanduzer was taken to Redding Medical Center, where she received over 40 stitches, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Duane Lyon.