Wildlife officials are trying to trap an otter today that they believe mauled an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother who came to his rescue.
Officials believe Bryce Moser inadvertently got too close to the otter's pups when he was swimming Thursday morning in the Pilchuck River, a swimming hole his family has been using for years.
The boy's grandmother, Lelani Grove, said she heard the screams of her grandson and then saw the horrible sight of an otter viciously attacking him.
"I could see that it was biting into his head and it had its claws around him,” Grove told ABC News affiliate KOMO News. She jumped into action.
"I just swam out there and I grabbed the claws to pull it off of him," she said.
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“I just remember trying to hold it as tight as I can and yelling ‘Get him out of the water! Get him out of the water!’” Grove told KOMO.
Grove was able to pull the otter off of Bryce, but not before suffering multiple injuries herself.
“It just started biting on me and biting on me and it felt like little knives just going in,” Grove told the station.
Both Grove and Bryce were taken to a hospital where Grove reportedly received hundreds of stitches to her face and head and Bryce received nine staples in his head. Grove also suffered an injury to her right eye, which may result in minor long-term damage. The two were released Friday night.
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife says the incident is a unique case.
“River otter attacks are extremely rare,” department spokesperson Craig Bartlett told ABC News.
“When they do happen, they’re usually a female with pups,” said Bartlett, who explained that the otter likely attacked after noticing Bryce too close to her pups. Such attacks usually happen in July and August, when the otters have their pups with them.
Bartlett said that officers located a female otter with pups on Tuesday, and that efforts to trap and relocate the otter and her pups are currently underway.
Grove and Bryce continue to recover at home, KOMO News reports. Though the attack has caused much physical injury, Grove maintains that she would do it all again if it meant protecting her grandson.
Lelani Grove could not be immediately reached by ABC News for comment.