FREEPORT, Texas, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A Texas woman said an injured animal she initially thought was a seal in the road turned out to be something nearly as unusual -- a river otter.
Kristy Fagan of Brazoria said in a Facebook post that she was driving down Highway 36 in the Freeport area after dropping her husband off at work Tuesday morning when she stopped to investigate what appeared to be an injured seal in the road.
"I thought it was a seal and I said they don't have seals around here," Fagan told KTRK-TV.
She said in the Facebook post that the animal was actually "an otter the size of a beagle."
"I was like, that is an otter, OK. So I started taking a picture, but before I could take a picture, I saw it go, 'ahhh.' It was laying on its back," she told KTRK.
Fagan said she used the mat from her car to gently move the otter to the side of the road and called Gulf Coast Wildlife Rescue for assistance.
"When I saw it was still breathing, that's when I was hoping that maybe just maybe it will just be unconscious and maybe I can save it," she said.
Wildlife rescuers took the otter to be treated for its injuries, but it died a few hours later. They said it would be preserved in a local museum.
Experts said river otters are shy animals and sightings in Texas are extremely rare.
Fagan said she hopes the incident will inspire more people to stop and help injured animals they see on the road.
"The fact when you can't have kids, it makes you even more attached to animals because you always want to take care of that something," she said.