By John Lauritsen

MCGREGOR, Minn. (WCCO) — For the second time this summer, a Minnesota swimmer has been attacked by an otter.

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The first incident happened a few weeks ago, near Duluth. This weekend, a woman was attacked near her family cabin in McGregor. Now, it’s making her think hard about going in the water again.

After what happened this weekend, Carol Schefers is likely to keep her three kids on solid ground for a while.

“I thought it was muskies. I got bitten by muskies before,” said Schefers.

Instead, it was an otter. Schefers was attacked while swimming about 200 yards from her family.

“I could see his little head circling around her,” said husband Patrick Schefers, who jumped in a boat and rushed to her rescue. “And when it would go under the water, Carol would really go crazy,” because that’s when it was biting her.

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It didn’t stop until Patrick got the boat to her, and scared the otter away. She ended up suffering 18 bites, on her hand, foot, thigh, and the back of her knee. When they got to the emergency room, they took pictures, and called the Health Department for advice on otter bites.

Anoka triathlete Leah Prudhomme was attacked last month near Duluth. That otter bit through her wetsuit.

Schefers says her lifejacket helped protect her upper body, and kept her afloat, but she hasn’t been able to sleep since Saturday.

“No I can’t,” she said. “It’s just hard. The minute you close your eyes, you feel as if you’re floating in the water again.”

A nightmare she’ll try to avoid for quite a while.

“You can’t give me a million dollars to go swim in any big water bodies,” she said. “If I want to swim, I’ll go to a water park.”

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Schefers did need rabies shots and she’ll also go back to the doctor for more treatment on her hand, which was apparently numbed by the attack.

John Lauritsen