An 83-year-old woman was attacked by a beaver while swimming in Lake Barcroft on Tuesday evening, according to Fairfax County police.
The woman was attacked around 6 p.m., according to police. The woman was able to swim to shore and a neighbor struck the beaver with a branch until Animal Control officers were able to arrive. A neighbor called 911 and police and fire units arrived on scene shortly after.
“We don’t know what caused the beaver to attack the woman,” said Lucy Caldwell, public information officer with the department. “We can’t hypothesize whether the beaver was rabid, but it is a concern.”
Following the attack, the woman was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital where she was treated for non life-threatening injuries. The extent of her injuries was not released, but police said the woman is currently taking preventive medications as a precaution.
Caldwell confirmed that the beaver was euthanized and will be tested for rabies.
It is possible that police will have rabies testing results from the beaver either Wednesday night or Thursday, she said.
“If you’re hiking along one of the numerous lakes and large waterways in Fairfax County, it’s important to be aware of the many scenarios and issues that can cause wildlife to attack,” said Caldwell.
Lake Barcroft is a private 135-acre community located in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County. Residents are permitted to swim and fish in the lake, which is surrounded by homes.
Caldwell did not have statistics on similar incidents in Fairfax County involving beavers, but in July, two girls were attacked by a beaver while swimming in Lake Anna in Virginia’s Spotsylvania County.
According to Fredricksburg.com, the beaver bit 8-year-old Annabella deep enough that she required bandages on three wounds above her knee. Her 11-year-old sister Alyssa received 15 stitches on her thigh.