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Was It Really A Muskie That Bit The Girl On Island Lake North Of Duluth?

(Left)  Allison Shelley/Getty Images - (Right) ProFishermanJones on YouTube
(Left) Allison Shelley/Getty Images – (Right) ProFishermanJones on YouTube

It’s clearly very tragic that an 11 year-old girl had to have her foot surgically repaired after an encounter with an underwater creature on Island Lake, north of Duluth earlier this week. The graphic visuals of the damage done to this girl’s foot are painful to look at, and one can’t even imagine having actually been the victim. While it’s undeniable that something attacked this girl, one has to wonder, what was it really that caused this carnage?

Early assumptions about what attacked the girl were that it was an otter, similar to the incident 5 years ago on the same lake. After being taken to the hospital, doctors told the family that the cuts were too clean to have been an otter, and suggested it may have been a large fish like a muskie.

This story has created quite a debate online, with people arguing what it was that actually attacked the girl. Arguments like this have popped up on social media, including on the original Facebook post about the attack. Some side with the doctors, saying it had to be a large muskie due to the clean nature of the cuts. While muskies (or muskellunge, as they are officially known) are an aggressive fish that lunges at and clamps down on their prey, some say it couldn’t have been a muskie and had to be an otter or other creature.

Those arguing it was an otter (or something else) stay that there would be more puncture wounds/cuts or that the wounds wouldn’t be as deep if it was a muskie, stating that the fish do have sharp teeth lining their mouth, but not fangs, as the images might suggest as the cause of the wounds. You can see a video of a muskie’s mouth (and subsequent bite to a man’s leg) below.

There have even been a few that have suggested it couldn’t have been an otter, suggesting otters are vegetarians. To clarify that argument, that simply isn’t true. The Minnesota DNR states on their website that river otters (the kind that live in Minnesota) eat “a variety of small aquatic organisms such as fish, clams, muskrats, and turtles. They can also catch terrestrial mammals such as chipmunks, mice, and young rabbits.” While this is true, it still doesn’t necessarily mean that an otter wanted to make a meal out of this girl.

Whatever it was that attacked this girl may not have been looking for dinner. Some animals will attack to defend themselves if they feel threatened. So, was it a muskie, otter, or something else? Unfortunately, we may never really know. You can form your own educated conclusion though. In the end, the most important thing is that this girl that was attacked is safe and hopefully she makes a quick and full recovery.

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