BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A peaceful day of kayaking turned into a scene ripped from a horror movie for a father, daughter and the family dog Sunday when they had to fend off a rabid beaver.
Dan Wherley told WPMT that, at first, he was excited to see wildlife during their father-daughter outing on Conewago Creek in Adams County.
When the animal started biting at his kayak, he knew something was wrong and yelled a warning to 7-year-old Layla.
"Get away ‘cause it's a beaver!" Wherley screamed, pulling out his cellphone to record the aggressive beaver.
"Halfway through, I had to get my phone out 'cause nobody's gonna believe this, a beaver biting my kayak," Wherley said to WPMT Thursday afternoon. "It wouldn't stop, so I used my paddle, tried to hit it to get it away, and it just wouldn't stop, wouldn’t stop."
Realizing the beaver wasn't giving up, Wherley used what he had on hand.
"I pulled (the paddle) in half and was . . . hitting him with the metal part. I figured that would do more," he added.
It finally let up, but went straight for Layla.
"The beaver came up to the kayak, and tried to get in the kayak," Layla said.
Wherley said he jumped out of his kayak and rushed over to help her.
"I got to her kayak the same time the beaver did, it climbed up on the back of her kayak, started to, and I had to punch it to get it off, 'cause I didn't have anything with me," Wherley said.
Eventually, the fight went to shore, where Wherley killed the beaver.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed to WPMT that the beaver had rabies. Wherley wasn't badly hurt, but he has had to get a number of shots.
"I was just worrying about her getting bit. That would've been horrible. I couldn't imagine," said Wherley.
Layla's now scared to get in a kayak but says she may try one day soon. As for dad, he says he'll definitely be keeping an eye out the next time he's on the water.
"Well, it found us. We didn't find it. It found us," he said.
As for the dog, Wherley says their pup sat in the bushes, hiding.
Officials say this is the first time there's been a rabid beaver in Adams County.