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Alaska Beat

Woman, 83, survives epic battle with rabid beaver

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published September 7, 2012

On Sept. 4, Lillian Peterson of Falls Church, Va., was out for a routine post-work swim in the lake behind her house when a very unusual thing happened. She was attacked. By a beaver.

Peterson, described as an impressively active 83-year-old real estate agent, was climbing out of the lake at the end of her swim when she noticed a disturbance in the water. She had little time to think, catching only a flash of "large, orange teeth" before experiencing an excruciating pain in her leg.

According to the Washington post, "a 35-pound, 24-inch rabid beaver" had caught hold of Peterson, digging its giant hatchet teeth into the back of her limb. Peterson screamed and reached for a stick, stabbing at the beaver's face, hoping to blind it, but the animal "would not let go."

Friend and neighbor, Mike Korin, happened to see the attack and piloted his boat across the lake to aid her. The pair "battled the animal with canoe paddles, a stick and bare hands" for over 20 minutes "as it came at them again and again." Finally, after "beating savagely on the beaver" Korin and Peterson thought it dead. But it wasn't over yet, because according to Korin, "all of a sudden, the beaver (flipped) over and (came) back to life" lugging at the pair again.

In the end, the crazy beaver was captured under a net and "lashed" to a "light pole on the lake shore" for animal control to deal with. Authorities arrived and generally treated the animal with an air of caution. (After proving so dangerously tenacious and unpredictable, there would be reasonable suspicion that the beast was either a zombie or jacked up on bath salts.) Then they euthanized it and tested it for rabies.

Peterson, currently recovering from her battle wounds and enduring rabies vaccinations, is in stable condition. However, she told the Post, "There is no way" (presumably "in hell") she "will swim in that place again." And can you blame her?

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