When a Belarusian fisherman came across a beaver he thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take a picture with the buck toothed rodent. The beaver thought otherwise and bit the man, severing an artery and killing him, reports the Associated Press.
The attack was just one of many recent attacks by beavers on humans in the former Soviet nation of Belarus as an expanding beaver population forces the rodents to encounter humans far more often than they used to.
Beavers in Europe used to be prized by hunters, almost to the point of extinction. Once hunting was banned or heavily regulated the dam building rodents experienced a population explosion. Wildlife experts say that the beaver population of Belarus has tripled in the last decade, according to the Associated Press.
The fisherman, who is not being named out of respect to his family's wishes, attempted to pick up the beaver and was bit several times, including in a major artery in his leg. His friends attempted to stop the bleeding as he was rushed to the village of Ostromechevo where he was attended to by Dr. Leonty Sulim, reports the Associated Press.
"The character of the wound was totally shocking for us medical professionals," Sulim told the Associated Press. "We have never run into anything like this before."
Beavers are nocturnal animals and can easily become disoriented in the daylight, causing them to become much more aggressive than they normally would be. Another possible reason for the recent attacks may be because spring is the time of the year when young beavers are sent out on their own to find their own territory, which may cause them to wander into heavily populated areas, wildlife expert Viktor Kozlovsky explained to the Associated Press.
The forestry ministry of Belarus has encouraged people to once again hunt the rodent as their massive population has started to do damage to both forests and farms. Although, as ministry spokesman Alexander Kozorez told the Associated Press, beaver hunting is not very popular since the animals make very easy targets standing on their dams.
The fisherman is the first known fatality from a beaver attack in Belarus.