A shark bite, sure. That's definite cause for terror amongst the world's ocean swimming lot.
But Lillian Peterson wasn't swimming in an ocean. The 83-year-old was climbing out of the water after a dip in Virginia's Lake Barcroft when she felt an excruciating shot of pain on the back of her leg.
Turning her head around to see what attacked her, the Falls Church resident met with the deranged, beady eyes of a rabid beaver.
"It bit me so bad," Peterson told the Washington Post on the phone from her hospital bed. "I started kicking it with my other leg, but I wasn't sure what I would do."
The real estate agent's co-worker, Mike Korin, happened to be giving a fishing lesson at the lake that same night and witnessed the attack.
Korin told the Post that at around 6 p.m., he noticed a beaver splashing around the water — an unusual sight. Shortly after, he witnessed the animal making a beeline for Peterson.
"I heard horrible yelling and knew it was the real deal," he said. "She was saying, 'I can't get out of its grip. It's got me.'"
Before he could maneuver his boat to come to her aid, the beaver took a chunk out of Peterson's right calf, tried to gnaw off her thumb and left a series of bite marks all over her body.
But the athletic senior wasn't going down without a fight.
Peterson told the paper she tried to blind the beaver by grabbing a walking stick and aiming for its eyes.
But like the cyborg T-1000 in Terminator 2, the beaver could not be stopped.
After taking its pound of flesh, the beaver headed straight toward Korin's boat, perhaps seeking an escape route. Instead, it met with Korin's canoe paddle, with which he said he began to "savagely" beat the creature.
While the beating broke Korin's paddle, it only managed to stun the unflappable animal.
Using the brief respite to attend to his co-worker, Korin raced toward Peterson, only to watch as the beaver ran for them once more.
A few more blows with a broken paddle seemed to finally do the trick. The beaver lay still until an emergency medical crew arrived.
Then, just as they began to treat Peterson's wounds… "All of a sudden, the beaver flips over and comes back to life," Korin said.
A third beating, this time by paramedics, allowed Korin to trap the animal with a net.
This proved an effective tactic until animal control officers would arrive to put the creature down.
Between 12 and 15 beavers live in the lake, which serves as a popular recreational spot for suburban Washington boaters, fishermen, and swimmers, and no one can recall a similar attack.
Biologists believe these uncharacteristic attacks can often be traced to a case of rabies and police later confirmed the animal was, in fact, carrying the disease.
To add more pain to her already considerable ordeal, Peterson is also being treated for rabies with those gigantic needles your mother used to warn you about so you'd steer clear of raccoons.
Who would have ever believed Canada's national animal could prove so much more terrifying?
Rabid beaver proves a formidable foe in attack of 83-year-old woman | Daily Buzz - Yahoo! News Canada