Animal attacks—from creatures both great and small—happen everyday. But a report yesterday from The Telegraph brought a story to light that few saw coming: A man was attacked, and ultimately killed, by a beaver that he'd stopped to take a picture of.
According to the report, a still unidentified 60-year-old man from the country of Belarus was out with friends when someone spotted a nearby beaver. As he moved closer to the animal in an effort to have his photo taken alongside it, the beaver turned and latched itself onto his leg. The attack severed an artery, and the fisherman bled to death before his nearby friends could get him to medical attention.
Just because something may look goofy and harmless doesn't make it so.
A number of reports have linked to this video, filmed in Russia, which appears to show a beaver attacking whoever's behind the camera.
This isn't just some trend among ornery European beavers, either—it happens Stateside too. The Washington Post reported last September that a woman at Lake Barcroft in Fairfax County, Va., was attacked by one of the semi-aquatic rodents as she exited the water.
The woman, who was 83 at the time, was left with puncture wounds all over all her arms and legs, and nearly lost a thumb to the animal. A nearby co-worker rushed to her aid, and was eventually able to temporarily subdue the beaver. After authorities arrived the animal was euthanized, and later tested positive for rabies. It weighed in at 35 pounds—a formidable foe, especially when rabid.
Oh, and if you're not familiar with it, Fairfax County is just outside of Washington, D.C., and also happens to be the home of NRA Headquarters—so you can trust me when I say it's not exactly "the wilderness."
Reports like these serve as a grim reminder that wild animals are, well... wild. They need to be treated with caution, no matter how "cuddly" they may seem to the human eye.
There's nothing wrong with taking a picture of local wildlife, but be smart about it and don't get too close—professional wildlife photographers often utilize equipment that makes it look like they got far closer to the animals than they really were. Don't try to emulate those images with you pocket camera or smartphone. You don't want to disturb nature or put yourself at risk.
Stay safe out there, folks.