Diabolical beaver holds Daugavpils in its thrall

A man in Daugavpils, Latvia's second-largest city, was attacked by a beaver in the middle of the night. Pinned to the ground, the man - known only as Sergei - phoned for help but rescue services doubted his tale of rodent assault and thought it was a prank call, Inna Plavoka, editor at the local Seychas daily told Latvian Radio 4 Thursday.

Plavoka told Latvian Radio 4 that Sergei claimed he was walking the city streets late at night when he saw a beaver emerge from the shadows and run towards him. He didn't have time to fully grasp the peril in which he found himself before the beaver had sunk its teeth into one of his legs.

He reportedly tried fighting back and fell to the ground. As he lay motionless, the vicious swamp-dweller fixed Sergei with a pair of ruthless, staring eyes and bit him again when he tried to get up.

The beaver was in effect holding Sergei hostage. 

The man was able to call rescue services using his cellphone. However, they thought it was a prank call and hung up on him.

Desperate, Sergei then phoned a friend and was at first met with similar disbelief and enquiries as to his state of mind but eventually managed to persuade the friend to rescue him from his terrifying ordeal.

However, en route to the scene, the friend was pulled over for speeding. Police were unconvinced by the friend's explanation that he was rushing to the aid of a stricken friend being held hostage by a single beaver - not even a gang of them.

After subjecting the Good Samaritan to a breathalyzer test, the police reluctantly accompanied the friend to the scene of the crime.

There, it is reported, police found the man still at the mercy of the toothsome terrorist, who made clear his hostility to law enforcement and all the norms of civilized behavior.

Consequently, police called for immediate backup from high-readiness animal welfare officers who arrived at the scene to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the hostage situation.

The beaver - a protected species in Latvia - is understood to have made good his escape and is still at liberty, like some furry Latgalian Jesse James.

The victim emerged from his ordeal alive but badly shaken and with 15 stitches in his leg.

Mihails Pupiņš, director of the Daugavpils Zoo, said that in spring beavers can indeed be very aggressive and even pose a danger to humans as beaver males are driven out of their lodges in search of new homes. Beavers routinely cross cities and if they encounter humans perceived as a threat these Castoridae can become aggressive to the point of sociopathy, as in this case.

Pupiņš said that running away is the best course of action when encountering a rampant beaver. Alternatively you can drop something to distract the beaver (your wallet for example), or climb a tree, though as is well known, even a tree can provide only temporary sanctuary from a truly determined beaver with murder on its malignant mammalian mind.

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