A rabid beaver attack, said to be rare, has left one New York Boy Scout Leader infected with rabies after an attack in a Pennsylvania river that serves as a reminder that not all furry creatures are friendly.
Fifty-one-year-old Norman Brousseau of Pine Plains, New York is an assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 32 of Elizaville. Brousseau was with a fellow leader as well as four Scouts during a field trip at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania.
The beaver attack occurred in the Delaware River, and Brousseau describes a terrifying brush with the dangerous, infected creature.
Brousseau was using a pool noodle when he spied the “dark shape” of the beaver in the river. He says that the beaver immediately chomped on him — and he had to put his Scout training to good use in getting free of the rabid beaver:
“It came through my legs and attached itself to my chest… I thought it was a giant carp fish.”
Brousseau was bitten in the initial attack, wrestling free of the rabid beaver and flinging it away. But the beaver returned, snapping and attempting to continue nibbling on his flesh.
According to a local news source, the rabid beaver began to bite Brousseau “in the leg and then again in his buttocks, arm, hand and waist,” until the scout leader says “the adrenaline kicked in.” He explains:
“I grabbed it in its mouth… I had it around its bottom jaw as tightly as I could because I knew it was going to either bite me or bite the boys. I called the Scouts to come give me a hand.”
Between Brousseau and the boys, they were able to throw the beaver up onto the riverbank where it “then it started attacking the noodle.” The leaders and boys were able to then kill the beaver by throwing rocks at it. A passing couple in a canoe were able to summon emergency services, and, after the rabid beaver was confirmed to be infected with the disease, Brousseau was treated for rabies.
He says the scary incident serves as a reminder for nature-lovers to be on the lookout for animals that may be acting oddly or behaving aggressively:
“When you go out into nature, you always need to veer on the side of caution,” he said. “Don’t assume a wild animal is not sick. You have to be on your toes at all times.”
In the wake of the rabid beaver attack, wildlife experts caution people to be wary of animals that are exhibiting unusual behavior.