A possibly rabid beaver attacked Betsy Bent, a 67-year-old paddle-boarder, while she was pulling herself across the surface of Beaver Lake (!) near Asheville, North Carolina recently. "I saw a big splash, but I didn't see what the splash was from,” Betsy said. "It came up under my board and knocked my board over, and then it latched onto my leg and wouldn't let go. I didn't know what it was at that time. I didn't think there was any 'Jaws' in Beaver Lake."
The beaver kept up the attack while Bent was in the water after being knocked off her board, inflicting multiple lacerations. "I was yelling, 'Help, I'm being bitten!'" she said.” A very nice fisherman was talking to me and motioning me to come over, and then it turned around and attacked me again and latched onto my hand. Then it came around a third time and latched onto my other hand." The angler helped beat the beaver off her, and brought Bent to shore. She was transported to Mission Hospital for medical care. "Beavers chew on logs, so I've got some pretty good lacerations and staples and stitches," Bent said. Bent also had to go through the rabies shot protocol, which means she was forced to endure a series of painful shots over several days.
An Asheville Police Department's Animal Control officer helped the Beaver Lake warden catch the animal after the incident, which was reported at 3:24 p.m. "On Saturday, July 9, APD Animal Services was called by the Beaver Lake Game Warden to assist in impounding a beaver," a department spokeswoman said. Mike Carraway, a wildlife biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said it is unusual for beavers to attack humans.
Ms. Bent doesn’t want people to shy away from the popular Asheville area lake. "We've lived just up the road for 22 years," she said. "It's a wonderful lake. This is just a bizarre accident. We’ll be back again."
Speculation as to the large, crazed, rodent’s motive for the attack has been wide-ranging. Perhaps it was jealous of the mode of transportation or envious of those possessing opposable thumbs. Maybe it didn’t like the colors of the paddle board, or wanted it for its own use.
In any case, this beaver’s bite was worse than its bark.