Dan Wherley was having some bonding time with his daughter Layla, 7, by kayaking down Conewago Creek in Adams County, Pennsylvania last August 5. With them was their pet bloodhound.
However, their fun time was cut short when a wild beaver suddenly started attacking them and wouldn’t stop, forcing Wherley to eventually kill it.
In an interview with WPMT-TV on August 9, Wherley recalled the incident, “I looked, and it was a beaver scratching at it, and I thought ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool—a beaver came up to us!’ It wouldn’t stop, so I used my paddle tried to hit it to get it away, and it just wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop.”
“The beaver came up to the kayak, and tried to get in the kayak,” Layla added.
“I jumped out of my kayak and ran to her. I got to her kayak the same time the beaver did, it climbed up on the back of her kayak, started to, and I had to punch it to get it off, cause I didn’t have anything with me,” Wherley continued.
The pair managed to make it to shore but the beaver followed and the battle continued until Wherley managed to finally kill it.
“I was just worried about her getting bit. That would’ve been horrible. I couldn’t imagine,” he said.
Wherley added more details about the wild encounter in a Facebook post. He wrote: “It was a big [expletive] crazy beaver. It kept trying to bite and get into the kayak after me. I kept beating it with the paddle, this went one for a few minutes. It wouldn’t give up.”
That’s when he started punching the beaver. “I was punching, kicking and trying to get away from it. I ran to the bank with Layla and it followed me still trying to attack us,” he added.
Once they got to shore, Wherley decided to hit the beaver with rocks.
“After about 5 more big rocks to the head, it swam away a little bit, then came right back. I grabbed a big stick and smacked it on the head 5 times as hard as I could and the last hit crushed its skull,” he wrote.
“It sounds like a damn horror movie the way she [was] screaming and the water splashing. I’m just glad it didn’t bite either of us. Our sissy bloodhound hid safely in the weeds far away during all of this,” Wherley concluded.
Wherley’s fears about getting bit were founded because the Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed that the beaver was indeed rabid, forcing both father and daughter to get several shots.
Officials say that it was the first time that a rabid beaver has made an appearance in Adams County, which is located near the border with Maryland.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines rabies as “a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal,” with the “vast majority of rabies cases” coming from raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
“Early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort,” the CDC adds. If not treated early enough, symptoms can advance to insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water).