Monday, September 10, 2012

When rabid beavers attack

(742 words)

When I read the story of the relentless rabid beaver I thought, man, the Steelers could have used a couple of them against Peyton Manning and the Broncos last night.

In fact, I urge the Steelers to consider changing the name of the team from The Pittsburgh Steelers to The Pittsburgh Rabid Beavers.

“Here we go, Beavers! Here we go!”

I’ve never heard of a creature so fierce. Allow me to summarize.

Lillian Peterson, a Falls Church, Va., granny, was finishing a recreational lake swim when she felt a sharp pain gnawing at her ankle.

According to Justin Jouvenal’s lively Washington Post story, “The 83-year-old woman twisted around to see what attacked her and noticed one thing: large, orange teeth.”

It’s gripping in every sense of the word.

It was the beginning of an ordeal that would last 20 minutes and leave Peterson seriously injured. It was beaver vs. Peterson, a friend and a nearby fisherman named Mike Korin who arrived with heroic intentions.

The story reads like the humans were the underdogs.

“I heard horrible yelling and knew it was the real deal,” Korin said. “She was saying, ‘I can’t get out of its grip! It’s got me! It’s got me!’”

I’ve seen movies where innocents were besieged by mindless zombies and horrific creatures like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.” This one rabid beaver makes them all seem like pussycats.

Peterson and her friend were beating on the beaver with sticks, gouging its eyes and screaming for help. Then to their relief, I'm sure, Korin motors up.

What does the beaver do?

It attacks the boat!

If I’m Korin, this is where I flee, my pants full of crap. There’s just nothing in my experience that’s prepared me for dealing with a boat-attacking beaver.

But Korin’s made of sterner stuff. He began beating the beaver with a canoe paddle so savagely the paddle shattered.

The counter-attack seemed to stun the beaver enough for Korin to turn his attention to Peterson. It was a tactical error because the beaver regrouped and came at them again.

Again, Korin is waling away with the stump of his shattered canoe paddle. I imagine by now he realizes he is in a battle for his own life.

With a beaver!

An emergency medical crew arrived with a stretcher and a medical kit.

The should have brought a bazooka.

Both Peterson and Korin are raining blows on the enraged creature. In my mind, I imagine them timing their swings the way the old railroad men -- gandydancers -- did so that three strong men could strike a single spike with timed ferocity.

Finally, the beaver roles belly-up in the water and ceases all movement. For a relieved moment, a stunned hush falls over the crowd.

Care to guess what happened next?

“All of a sudden, the beaver flips over and comes back to life,” Korin said.

Yes, the beaver was playing possum.

Finally, five men and women use a strong net and subdue the 45-pound beaver. They lashed it to a light pole. The story said animal control officers arrived and euthanized it.

That seems insufficient. I’d have severed its head, its limbs and its paddle and incinerated them in furnaces in five different states. Anything short of that and I expect any day now we’re going to read about a rabid beaver on a bank robbing spree.

Always looking for a competitive edge, it won’t surprise me if some of our professional athletes start undergoing rabies shots.

Not to prevent rabies.

To acquire it. Having rabies sounds like steroids on steroids.

I worry that this isn’t isolated, but is a another drastic harbinger of climate change that has animals acting funny.

That’s usually a base plot line for many of the instant camp classics SyFy channel is producing.

They take two fearsome creatures and mingle their DNA and have the resulting monster terrorize some beach community where artificially enhanced blonds romp near naked amidst the dunes.

For instance, recent titles include “DinoShark!” “Sharktopus!” and “Piranhaconda!”

This Virginia beaver sounds part pit bull.

I think part of why the attack is so jarring is we’re conditioned to thinking of beavers in such cheerful terms. They’re industrious, they’re resolute, they’re listed in the Oxford English Dictionary since 1927 as acceptable slang for female genitalia.

Leave it to beavers. These powerful furry little creatures are ever-eager to find new and unusual ways to command our attention.

Related . . .

Chimps gone wild in tabloid world

Rabid raccoons: Gunnin’ for good neighbors

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