ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Officials are urging caution for visitors of Six Mile Waterworks Park after an aggressive otter was spotted near Rensselaer Lake Tuesday. After reviewing surveillance video of the animal, DEC officials believe the otter is likely rabid.
The Albany Water Department posted on Facebook Wednesday, warning visitors to the park of an aggressive otter that had chased people.
DEC officials say the animal was somewhat aggressive towards a fisherman at Rensselaer Lake and also chased a vehicle.
“This is very atypical behavior for river otters, usually they want nothing to do with people and will go away,” said Mike Clark, Regional Wildlife Manager for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Clark believes the otter is likely in the late stages of rabies, “River otters occasionally will contract rabies, and like many other mammals, they do become aggressive at the later stages of that disease.”
The park is known to have river otter sightings, but Clark says this is the first time they’ve encountered a likely rabid one in the location.
A team from DEC responded to Six Mile Waterworks Tuesday afternoon after receiving the reports of the aggressive behavior, but were unable to locate the animal.
If you come into contact with the aggressive otter, experts say it’s best to remain calm and try to create as much distance as possible in order to prevent potential exposure.
“If need be, put a barrier in between you and it. River otters, they’re fast but they’re not great climbers or jumpers, so you can get behind a wall, or a vehicle, or a safe place like that,” Clark explained.
DEC officials don’t believe there was any human exposure. If you see the otter, you can contact the 24-hour ECO Hotline at 1-844-332-3267. Potential exposure should be reported to the county health department.