An 83-year-old woman was attacked by a beaver while swimming in Lake Barcroft Tuesday evening. Fairfax County police say the woman was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
“This is a situation that was extremely unusual,” said police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell. “We haven’t had anything like this in 12 years,” according to Animal Control reports.
Lake Barcroft, which is near Falls Church, is a private lake surrounded by homes. It is a popular swimming and fishing spot.
The woman, who was attacked by the beaver at 6 p.m., was aided by witnesses, according to police.
“There was a man who heard her screams and ran over and hit [the beaver] with a stick,” Caldwell said, adding the man also had a net and used it to stem the beaver’s attack, while the woman was helped on shore.
Animal Control later euthanized the beaver to test it for rabies. The beaver was confirmed to have rabies Wednesday. The woman was given treatments against a rabies infection, Caldwell said.
“You have to know [whether the beaver has rabies] because rabies is 100 percent fatal in humans,” she said. “Beavers, like all animals, can be territorial. There are beavers in this area, as well as around Fairfax County.”
In July, sisters Annabella Radnovich, 8, and Alyssa Radnovich, 11, were attacked by a beaver while swimming in Lake Anna in Fredericksburg. The girls were taken to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center for treatment. The beaver was shot by the girls’ uncle, according to reports.
“There are a number of wildlife species in Fairfax County but these types of attacks are not common,” Caldwell said.