Normand Brousseau, a 51-year-old assistant scoutmaster with upstate Columbia County Boy Scout Troop 32, was swimming in the Delaware Water Gap earlier this month when he was attacked by a rabid beaver. Today's Associated Press report gives us the fear: The beaver "swam through his legs and bit him in the chest. The animal then bit him in the leg, buttocks, arm, hand and torso before he managed to grab it and hold its jaw closed." And that's how you get your merit badge in Fish and Wildlife Management!
“It came through my legs and attached itself to my chest,” assistant scoutmaster Brousseau tells the Poughkeepsie Journal. “I thought it was a giant carp fish.” After the first bite, Brousseau threw it away, but the beaver immediately swam back for more. "The adrenaline kicked in," recalls Brousseau. "I grabbed it in its mouth. I had it around its bottom jaw as tightly as I could because I knew it was going to either bite me or bite the boys. I called the Scouts to come give me a hand."
16-year-old Nick Hedges of Elizaville came to the rescue, dragging Brousseau to shore as he gripped the beaver in his hands. There the beaver began attacking the foam swimming noodle that Brousseau had with him in the water. As their assistant scoutmaster lay bleeding on the shore, the scouts took action, throwing rocks at the beaver until it was dead. Definitely Eagle Scout material.
Brosseau is still recovering and has had about 20 rabies shots since the August 2nd attack. (The swimming noodle's condition is unclear.) Dutchess County health officials said an attack from a rabid beaver is unusual (rabid bats are supposedly more common this time of year), but this is just the latest in a string of rabid beaver assaults. In July two girls were bitten by a rabid beaver while swimming in Virginia's Lake Anna, and earlier this month a possibly rabid beaver attacked swimmers in North Carolina. And let's not forget the unspeakable things that beaver did to poor Mel Gibson.