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Woman Attacked by River Otter Shares Graphic Photos of Injuries

One of the three women who was brutally attacked by a river otter near Cardwell, Montana last week has shared graphic photos of her injuries, along with her account of the attack. Warning, the images from the attack are graphic; viewer discretion is advised.

In a detailed social media post, Jen Royce shared how her and friends went to go tubing on the Jefferson River, but their lives were completely changed after they were viciously attacked by a river otter.

Royce also took an opportunity to “set the record straight” after rumors online blamed her and her friends for instigating the animal during the August 3 attack. Royce shared that her friends and her were in the middle of a wide stretch of the river trying to not get close to the river otters, saying, “We didn’t even know the otter/otters were there until we were attacked.”

It is unknown how many otters were involved in the attack.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks shared in a press release that multiple otters were observed, but they believe only one otter attack the group.

Despite only one otter attacking them, Royce describes the incident as “vicious and relentless.”

Jen Royce was life-flighted off the Jefferson River on Aug. 3 after a river otter attacked her and two of her friends.

“It bit my face in several places, both of my ears, my arms, my hands, my legs, my thighs, and my ankle,” Royce shared. “My friends were bit on the hands and on their bottoms.”

She said that her and her friends all felt “helpless” treading water in the middle of the river. All their tubes had been popped, and said that every time she kicked the otter away, it would attack her somewhere else.

By the time Royce was able to get away from the otter, the three women had gotten separated.

“I was on the south side of the river and had crawled up the hill, one friend was out on the north side by the railroad tracks, and my other dear friend was stuck on a rock still in the river, not able to get out since we didn’t know where the otter/otters went.”

One of the woman was able to make a phone call to 911 and rescuers were able to get to them an hour later. Royce shared that while they waited for help, she feared she may never get off of the river.

“I was covered in blood, and it just kept pouring out from my face and nose,” she said. “It was cold. We were wet. It was dark … All we could do was scream and call out to one another.”

Fortunately, the group of women were able to make if off of the Jefferson River that night.

Royce had the most injuries of the three women and had to be life-flighted by helicopter to a Bozeman hospital.

Royce said, “I cannot begin to explain the huge relief and the hysterical release of tears knowing we weren’t alone and would soon be on our way out of HELL.”

While at the hospital, Royce had to have her wounds flushed with saline and had to receive a rabies vaccine. She also had to have stitches up her ankles, leg, arm, fingers, and hand, along with a surgery on her face and ears.

Royce had a chunk bitten out of her ear, along with deep gashes on her hands and legs.

“I have more stitches in my body than I can count,” shared Royce. “Besides my face, I have puncture wounds to my left ankle, both legs, back of my right thigh, both arms, both hands, and all fingers. My left ear is split in half from the top to the bottom and is being held together with some kind of yellow bandage and stitches on both sides. But I am lucky, and I am grateful, and I am alive.”

Royce’s story can also be found on a GoFundMe page that was created to help with covering the women’s medical expenses that they have inquired from the attack.

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