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Kayaker Says He Was Attacked By Beaver

06/18/2014 01:33 pm ET | Updated Jun 18, 2014

All Michael Cavanaugh wanted to do was spend a nice day kayaking on a creek in upstate New York.

But his day was ruined when an angry beaver attacked him and knocked him into the water.

Cavanaugh was kayaking on Irondequoit Creek in Monroe County on June 10 when the incident happened, according to witness Nate Reynolds, who runs the BayCreek Paddling Center.

"I heard my name called out from the shop and I ran out the door to see a guy getting pulled into the water," Reynolds told WHAM-TV. "It was like watching a horror film."

Although Cavanaugh was able to get to his feet and approach the dock, the beaver did not let go -- even when Reynolds hit the creature with a paddle several times.

"The paddle broke and the beaver let go," Reynolds told the station. "He kind of disappeared for a few seconds but came back up so I hit him again."

Reynolds eventually killed the angry beaver and the paddling center was closed until animal control found its carcass to test it for rabies. Tests have not come back yet, but the center has since reopened.

Beaver attacks on humans are rare but can happen when the animals are infected with rabies or trying to protect their young, Syracuse.com reports.

Cavanaugh was taken to a local hospital and treated for deep puncture wounds on his arm and bite wounds on his back, according to UPI.com. He was also given a rabies booster.

Despite the terrifying encounter, Cavanaugh said he's doing well in a statement to WHAM-TV.

"In general I feel like you do after having surgery. My body is focusing on healing the wounds. I've slept quite a bit. Though the event was scary I haven't felt much in the way of traumatic emotional reactions which I'm thankful for. As a matter of fact I feel a lot of gratitude to God. First, that my injuries were not worse. Second, that the beaver did not attack [a fellow kayaker] Terri who would have been severely hurt as she was a great distance from the dock. Third, that I was surrounded by so many helpful people."

michael cavanaugh

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