Rabid Otter Bites Florida Man 41 Times In Rare Attack

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A Florida man's normal routine took a turn for the worst after a rabid otter set its sights on him. The rare attack happened in the 900 block of Marlin Drive in Jupiter, according to a Monday (September 25) release from the Florida Department of Health.

Joseph Scaglione, 74, told WPBF he was feeding some birds that morning at his backyard pond when they suddenly flew away.

“Looked up, no hawk, look back down, and there was a brown head sticking up over the bank of the pond," he recounted, adding that he quickly noticed a brown head peeking over the bank. "At first, I didn't know it was an otter, but then I realized that's an otter."

Scaglione slowly backed away toward his gate, but as he lifted his hand to close it, that's when the otter attacked. The news station said the creature bit him 41 times on his legs, hands, and arms. The besieged man managed to toss the otter off him, escaping into the neighborhood.

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control confirmed the otter attacked a family's dog before showing up on Scaglione's property. WPBF said some Good Samaritans trapped the rabid animal under a recycling bin before officials arrived to capture it.

The Florida Department of Health said the otter tested positive for rabies and was euthanized, according to the news station. As for Scaglione, he's currently being treated for rabies.

This is the first otter with rabies Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has seen since 2010. Capt. David Walesky, assistant director of the agency, told reporters the otter likely got rabies from an infected raccoon. He also urged the public to be careful feeding wildlife and to make sure their pets are vaccinated.

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