GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A rabid beaver bit a young girl while she was swimming in a northeast Georgia lake, local news outlets reported.
Kevin Beucker, field supervisor for Hall County Animal Control, told WDUN-AM that the beaver bit the girl on Saturday while she was swimming off private property in the northern end of Lake Lanier near Gainesville.
The girl’s father beat the beaver to death, Beucker said.
Don McGowan, supervisor for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, told WSB-TV that a game warden who responded described the animal as “the biggest beaver he’s ever seen.” The warden estimated it at 50 or 55 pounds (23 or 25 kilograms), McGowan said.
The beaver later tested positive for rabies at a state lab.
“Once that rabies virus gets into the brain of the animal — in this case, a beaver — they just act crazy,” McGowan said.
Hall County officials have put up signs warning people of rabies. They’re asking nearby residents to watch for animals acting abnormally and urging them to vaccinate pets against the viral disease.
People attacked by a rabid animal typically undergo a series of injections to prevent the disease from killing them.
State wildlife biologists said beaver attacks are rare. They said the last one they remember in Lake Lanier was 13 years ago.