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Otter Attacks Mpls. Girl in Western Wisconsin

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities girl is recovering from puncture wounds, scratches and bruises after a frightening attack in the water.

Rory Kliewer, 12, was climbing out of Bone Lake near Luck, Wis., Saturday when a large otter jumped on her and wouldn’t let go. At first, she thought it was a fish.

“I got a glimpse of it after I kicked it off of me, and I was like, ‘Oh, that thing is sleek and brown,'” she said. “That thing is not a fish. That is an otter.”

It was hissing and biting and clawing her from her head to her legs. Some of the deepest gashes are around her midsection, but her face and ears are also scratched.

“Afterwards, I was kind of amazed that in less than a minute it could do all of this,” she said, “which was pretty scary.”

Kliewer was visiting the lake with a friend whose family has a cabin nearby. Her mother, Sue, was back in Minneapolis running errands when she got the call.

“And when they got to the ER and the doc called me, he said ‘in 35 years of practice, I haven’t seen another otter attack,'” she said.

Kliewer is thankful she had goggles on, to protect her eyes.

“And I was wearing a life jacket,” she said. “If I hadn’t been, it probably would’ve pushed me under and drowned me.”

Before jumping onto her, Kliewer and her friends hadn’t seen any sign of the animal, but it certainly left its mark.

“I was saying it autographed me,” she said, “and then my friend’s mom was like, ‘Oh, it otter-graphed you.'”

River otters are not known to be dangerous, in general, but there were two similar attacks in Minnesota two years ago.

Kliewer needed 10 shots in the ER, and she’s getting follow-up rabies shots this week, but she said that’s “nothing” compared to what the otter did to her.

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