Jogger screams as she is chased by otters at West Coast Park while bystanders watch

This story was submitted via Web contribution form.

Many find them cute. But they are not so cute when they come after you.

A woman was chased by six or seven otters at West Coast Park on Friday (July 22) while bystanders could only watch.

A witness told Shin Min Daily News that the woman might have stepped on a baby otter while jogging, which provoked the otters.

The witness said she was taking a walk with her two children near the public toilet at West Coast Park at around 6pm. As she was taking pictures, she was startled by the woman running away from the creatures.

The witness said the woman was screaming as she ran. "The whole thing took about one to two minutes," said the witness. "In the end, it seemed the otters caught up with her."

The witness said the scene was very chaotic and there were at least 10 bystanders, including the elderly and children, who did not dare get too close.

"I did not see the otters bite the woman, but I saw otters running towards us," said the witness. "We were so scared and quickly avoided them. In the end, all we knew was that the otters ran back into the woods."

She said her children were traumatised by the whole incident.

"We were unable to help. The otters have sharp teeth, not something to fool around with. Even if we do not go near them, they would come running to us. People never know when they will be attacked. The elderly cannot run."

The National Parks Board (NParks) lists the animals as critically endangered in Singapore on its website, and they are protected under the Wildlife (Protected Wildlife Species) Rules 2020, a schedule under the Wildlife Act.

Here is what to do when encountering otters:

  • DO NOT touch, chase or corner the otters. Observe them from a distance. Going too close to the otters may frighten them.
  • DO NOT talk loudly and do not use flash photography. Noise and light may scare and provoke the otters.
  • DO NOT feed the otters. The otters have their own food in the environment and their natural eating habits keep the ecosystem healthy.
  • DO NOT litter or leave sharp objects in the water. Clean and safe waterways filled with fish and aquatic life make good habitats for the otters to frolic and feed in.
  • DO keep your dog on a tight leash. Your dog might chase the otters and frighten them, and keeping your dog on a tight leash will help to keep it safe.