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Beaver population is on the rise in Europe, sparking fears of more attacks


A Canadian beaver. In Belarus, Beaver attacks are on the rise.


Stuart Franklin

Several months after a Belarus man was killed in a vicious attack by a beaver, wildlife experts are warning that beaver attacks are on the rise.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that beavers have made a comeback in Europe. The population of the animals was nearly extinct at one point, but new bans on hunting the animals have caused the beaver population to swell to 80,000 in Belarus.

The Belarusian emergency services said that this year has been the first in its history that it received "a rash of reports of aggression by beavers."

The only known death from such an attack occurred at Lake Shestakov in March, when a man approached a beaver in hopes of taking a photo with it. Instead, the animal responded by digging its teeth into the man. He died from a severed artery. 

More from GlobalPost: Beaver attack puts man in hospital

Experts told the Daily Telegraph at the time that fatal attacks from beavers are "almost unheard of."

The attacks, while still rare, are becoming an "increasing problem," BBC News also reported Wednesday. With the March attack, "the character of the wound was totally shocking for us medical professionals," village doctor Leonty Sulim the BBC and the AP.  "We had never run into anything like this before."

The BBC warns that beavers can have teeth as long as three inches. The animals may be more violent during daylight hours  because they are nocturnal and thus disoriented during the day. And in fact, that's when the March attack occurred. 

So if you see a beaver during the day in Belarus, don't pose for a picture. Just run.