Beaver Savagely Attacks Kayaker

Man is recovering, but being treated for rabies just in case

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 17, 2014 11:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – More proof that beavers are scarier than sharks: A kayaker in Upstate New York was hospitalized after being attacked by a beaver in Irondequoit Creek last week. Michael Cavanaugh was knocked into the water when the beaver jumped out of the creek and started mauling him, biting him on his back and arm. "I heard my name called out from the shop and I ran out the door to see a guy getting pulled into the water," a trainer at BayCreek Paddling Center tells WHAM. "It was like watching a horror film." Cavanaugh was able to get to the dock, but the beaver wouldn't let go, so the trainer started hitting him with a paddle until the paddle broke and the beaver finally retreated.

"He kind of disappeared for a few seconds but came back up so I hit him again," the trainer says. "It's absolutely first of a kind," says the paddling center's owner, adding that "the beaver was upset for some reason, we don't know." Cavanaugh is being treated for rabies as a precaution—experts say beaver attacks on humans are rare, and most are either a result of rabies or a beaver trying to protect its offspring. "Though the event was scary I haven't felt much in the way of traumatic emotional reactions which I'm thankful for," says Cavanaugh in a statement. The beaver's carcass was found, and is being tested for rabies. Also last week, a couple in New Jersey say they were attacked by a beaver while walking by Lake Surprise, the Star-Ledger reports. The 40-pound animal chased them with teeth bared, they say, but finally retreated back to the water after almost biting the husband. (Last year, a beaver killed a fisherman who tried to take its picture.)

In this August 25, 2009 photo provided by Jim Clark, a beaver swims in the Dry fork River near War, W.Va.
In this August 25, 2009 photo provided by Jim Clark, a beaver swims in the Dry fork River near War, W.Va.   (AP Photo/Jim Clark)
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