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River Otter Warning & Guest Injury At Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA


As COVID-19 restrictions lessen and folks can return to visiting National Parks during the offseason, reminders of wildlife warnings and how to safely view or interact with wildlife are starting to show up more and more. However, even with those reminders, accidents happen.

While not usually considered dangerous or threatening due to their wonderfully adorable antics, River Otters are still wild animals and such be respected as such, which includes knowing where they might be and how to avoid confrontation. 

At Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, a visitor was seriously injured by a river otter this past Thursday, June 25th. In response, the park has issued a river otter warning directed to those guests who plan to visit Manzanita Lake inside the park. This warning includes the following:
  • River otters have sharp and powerful teeth and sharp claws.
  • They are territorial and will protect their young with aggression.
  • The river otter in this area is most likely a female protecting its young and den.
  • Please report any river otter incidents, especially aggressive behavior, to a park employee or at a visitor center.
As with all wildlife in all park systems across the country and around the world, it is always best to keep one's distance from wildlife. Never try to touch, feed, or interact with any wildlife, no matter the size or perceived demeanor of the animal. 

Photo: A river otter, though not from the visitor incident - Credit: USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Public domain

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