A man in Eastern Europe has reportedly died after being attacked by a beaver he was attempting to photograph.
The 60-year-old former serviceman was on a fishing trip at Lake Shestakov, Belarus, with two companions when the group stopped to snap the animal by the side of the road, according to the Daily Telegraph. But the incensed rodent viciously pounced on the victim and bit his thigh.
“It was early morning and already light when they saw a beaver by the road, which was unusual because beavers are nocturnal,” Sergei Shtyk, deputy head of the local wildlife inspectorate, told the British newspaper. “One of them went up to be photographed with it, and the animal attacked him and bit him twice, cutting an artery in his thigh, before running away.”
The unfortunate victim, who hailed from Brest in the country’s southwest, bled to death before an ambulance could be summoned, despite the best efforts of his friends to administer first aid.
Experts estimate that there are around 80,000 beavers in Belarus, with the population growing rapidly since the fall of the Soviet Union as demand for their fur has declined. Beaver attacks are unusual and the rare occasions that the animals do savage humans are usually spurred on by rabies, reports Sky News.
Nevertheless, a video posted on YouTube earlier this week shows a man in Russia’s Tver region, northwest of the capital Moscow, narrowly escaping an attack by a beaver that he was attempting to film.
And similar incidents have also occurred in the U.S.; two young sisters escaped with only scratches during an encounter with a beaver at a lake in Virginia in July, according to the Daily Mail; while an 83-year-old woman was hospitalized in September after being mauled in Fairfax County, Va., reports the Washington Post.
Beavers have extremely powerful jaws and sharp teeth that they use for gnawing through trees to build dams on rivers. Anyone coming across beavers in the wild is advised not to approach or make them feel in any way trapped or harassed.