Affronted beaver snarls traffic in New Brunswick

I cannot brain today because my neurons are bent toward my book. So you will have persiflage.

Diana MacPherson has called my attention to what might be the archetypal Canadian news story. Here, from the CBC News, is the headline and photo (it’s a great pity that there’s no video)

Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 2.37.14 PM Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 2.37.46 PM

And the entire story, which is hilarious (emphasis is mine). But I hope it found its way back to water:

An angry beaver was roaming around Miramichi on Tuesday, creating traffic delays and chasing onlookers.

Jim O’Neill was driving his taxi when he noticed a man being chased by a beaver off King George Highway on Tuesday.

“You look out the corner of your eye and see a beaver backing somebody up the driveway,” he said.

So, O’Neill stopped the cab and took out his camera.

Snapping a few pictures, O’Neill got about 2.5 metres away from the beaver before it turned on him.

“Slapped his tail on the driveway, slapped his front feet on the ground. He came on,” he said.

“So I backed up to try it again and jeez he got quite aggressive. He was camera shy.”

The rodent, possibly displaced from its home due to recent flooding, spent most of Tuesday afternoon roaming through town causing delays in traffic.

Miramichi Police Force were also called about the beaver as it was roaming around the northern city.

Sgt. Ed Arbeau said the Miramichi police deal with animals on a daily basis but this was a first.

“The damn thing was lost, it was going down the street. We didn’t do anything, we showed up and seen what it was,” Arbeau said.

“The guys left it alone, told the citizens to leave it alone and it went on its way to where it was going.”

Although quite rare, beavers have been known to attack people.

Arbeau said it’s possible the large rodent had been provoked during its time in the city. 

At least they correctly identified it as a rodent.

If you want to read more about beaver attacks on humans (some have been fatal), go here.

And here are two videos of beaver attacks. These beasts are nasty pieces of work. The first one shows live-trapping of beavers (I think in the U.S.), and the difficulty of trying to capture it and set it free. The second shows a very short but vicious rush by a beaver on a human.

If you see a beaver coming at you slowly like this one, head for the hills!

You’ve read the story, now see the movie:


Yes, it’s a real movie, and here’s the (slightly salacious) trailer:

As I said, I can’t brain today.


  1. E.A. Blair
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Just throw a pair of Fire Hose® Work Pants over that angry beaver.

  2. Allen
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    That Canadian icon was acting most unCanadian!

  3. Posted May 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    My own favourite news story of the day (ranking equal, perhaps, with the Virgin Mary getting a Spanish police award, as linked elsewhere on WEIT) concerns the Swedish fermented-herring disaster:

    • john frum
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      When we went camping in high school we would place tins of baked beans in the fire.
      Now that makes a mess.
      Cans of fly spray work amazingly well as missiles too.
      I remember hearing a loud bang and then seeing my friend drop to the ground as one shot past right over him.

  4. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Holey dam, was that beaver misplaced!

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Those people in the movie should’ve just set the dock spiders on those beavers. Dock spiders: keeping Diana away from northern lakes successfully since forever.

    I saw a tame beaver once at Science North in Sudbury and he was cute and cuddly. I also saw a muskrat running along a highway last week and wanted to help him but imagined it biting me all over and decided not to. Why can’t they be calm like turtles? I help those off the road all the time (except snappers though my dad has).

  6. George
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    You waste our time with this story of a beaver but make no mention of the danger in Newfoundland from potentially explosive whale carcasses?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Particularly liked the comment:
      Finally, a story from Canada about a rotund, threatening, washed-up mammal that does not focus on Mayor Rob Ford.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 4, 2014 at 4:16 am | Permalink

      What is it with exploding marine life? First rotten herring at #3, now whales?

      But I would query the assertion “what to do with a giant blue whale carcass that washed up on the beach and that some say threatens to spontaneously combust.” Clearly the reporter needs to learn the difference between spontaneous combustion and explosion. A spontaneously combusting whale – that would be quite spectacular.

  7. aldoleopold
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I spent a summer at a wildlife rehabilitation center in British Columbia when I was in undergrad, and interacted with several beavers. The center only rehabilitated (and eventually released) beavers that came in as kits. They were sweet during the bottle feeding stage. After that, they grew into seemingly intelligent adolescents and we limited human contact as much as possible. We did have one group (of loony individuals) that brought a 49 kg (108 #) beaver to the center, which they had somehow managed to corral into a trailer after finding it waddling along the side of a road. It was pissed/terrified out of its mind, and had nearly chewed a hole large enough to escape through by the time they arrived. We ended up darting it, putting it in a steel box normally used for bears, and carting it deep into the wilderness for release. That beaver EASILY could have killed whatever was in its path.

    Don’t get me started on the ignoramus who brought in a seal pup she had found on the beach (mistake #1), and was breast feeding.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Don’t get me started on the ignoramus who brought in a seal pup she had found on the beach (mistake #1), and was breast feeding.

      Consider yourself started. What on Earth was she thinking?
      Oh, she wasn’t thinking.

  8. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow!
    With two colonies of beavers established in Scotland (one officially as part of a planned re-introduction effort, and one unofficial), when do we need to worry about the impending attack of the zombie beavers?
    Oh, right ; shortly after we get bikini-clad buxom beach babes bouncing around on the lochs. Between the driving rain and the midges, that’s …
    … possibly closer than I thought, given global warming.
    Obligatory “, eh?

  9. Larry Gay
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    “The guys left it alone, told the citizens to leave it alone and it went on its way to where it was going.”

    This was said by an intelligent police officer. No one panicked or ran for a gun. It makes me think of Pinker’s “Better Angels of our Nature”. Maybe, slowly, we are improving.

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      The phrase, “it went on its way to where it was going” is my favorite part of the whole story.

  10. Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    “Zombeavers?” What’s next? Vampeccaries? Ghostoats? Daemus? Dragorillas?


    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Do do-dog.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted May 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes, spelling: Dododog.

  11. Jeffery
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I believe that the person in your second video was actually KILLED by that beaver; it bit him in an artery, and he bled out.

  12. sponge bob
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Which to see, which to see. Hmmm, Zombeavers or Heaven is for Real?

    Heaven is for Real is out of the question, so Zombeavers it is!

  13. Lynn David
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    I had to call the local wildlife on a rabid coon near beautiful ‘downtown’ Bruceville once. But the only thing the raccoon was chasing was its own tail.

    • Lynn David
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      *wildlife officer*

  14. Tim Harris
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Dreadfully off-topic, but when, Professor Coyne, you can brain again, I’d be interested to know what you made of the book ‘How Chemistry Becomes Biology’ by Addy Pross that you said you were reading some weeks ago. I bought it and read it, and found it very interesting, but felt it did not really live up to its promise (but I am not a scientist, and am not a good judge). I am now reading Peter Hoffman’s ‘Life’s Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos’, which looks rather more promising.

    • Posted May 4, 2014 at 3:07 am | Permalink

      I agree about Pross’s book It came to me highly recommended, but in the end said nothing more than that life itself originated by natural selection, even before life as we know it was on the scene (selection among biochemicals). I felt let down a bit as it didn’t go far toward explaining abiogenesis. Let me know if Hoffman’s book is better.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted May 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        It’ll take a bit of time because, like you, I’m beavering away at something – but I must say that my brief look at a few parts of the book suggested that it might be considerably more rewarding than AP’s.

  15. Robert Bate
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    I really can’t believe that movie clip made it on to Jerry’s site. His brain must hurt a lot today.

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