Leave it to a beaver to turn a happy excursion into a harrowing experience.
That’s just what happened Thursday morning to John McTindal.
The Atlanta resident was attacked by a beaver while fishing at Lower Pool Park on the Chattahoochee River in southeastern Forsyth County.
“It was the fishing trip from hell,” McTindal said.
McTindal said he was standing on the bank when the 30-35 pound critter swam up. He said the beaver had just passed a few other people nearby.
“He made an abrupt turn and just come right at me,” McTindal said. “I did everything I could to keep him off of me. And to make a long story short, he finally got a hold of me.”
The 57-year-old said he tried to scare the beaver off as it approached, but to no avail.
“I actually whacked him a couple times in the top of the head with my fishing rod and he was just coming straight on,” he said. “Fortunately, I looked over and there was a pretty good-sized limb there ... I laid into this sucker.
“If it had been a human being, it would’ve took their head off. It didn’t even slow him down.”
McTindal said the beaver latched onto the back of his leg, though he was wearing boots and camouflage pants. He eventually was able to subdue the animal under his right foot in the water.
“As soon as I took my foot off of him, I didn’t realize something could move that fast,” McTindal said.
The animal bit his arm and wouldn’t let go. McTindal pulled the beaver off by grabbing it on the back of the neck.
“I guess I tried to throw him as far as I could, but I wasn’t going to turn my back on him again,” said McTindal, adding that the beaver fled in the water.
He said a friend came to help him and he was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, where he received 17 stitches for his wounds and injections to protect him from rabies.
McTindal said he’s recovering at home, but he’s concerned about children who may play in the area near Buford Dam.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Lt. David Waters said animal control officers are monitoring the area.
Waters said it is not clear why the beaver attacked McTindal, but it could have had babies or a nest nearby that it was trying to protect.
He said because the beaver is a wild animal, the health department was notified and McTindal was encouraged to seek rabies treatment.
“We’ve actually done some research and it’s very rare that a beaver contract rabies,” he said. “However, there is a very small chance that it could.”
Waters said the incident was unusual.
“I’ve been in law enforcement 32 years and I’ve never seen a beaver attack a human, nor have I heard of it,” he said. “This is a first for me.”
The Forsyth County Fire Department also responded to the incident.