A 60-year-old man was attacked by a beaver in the former Soviet nation of Belarus. The fisherman had stopped at the side of the road to have a photo snapped with the animal when things turned nasty. The beaver snapped at the man, its razor-sharp teeth slashing the victim and severing a major artery in his leg. The photo-op turned tragic as the man bled out and was pronounced dead at the scene.

What caused the attack, the most recent in a surge of hostilities on the part of beavers? Fox News reports

Wildlife experts attribute the upsurge in attacks partly to spring bringing about more aggressive behavior in young beavers that are sent away to stake out their own territory. Largely nocturnal, beavers can also become disoriented during the daytime and attack out of fear, according to Viktor Kozlovsky, a wildlife expert.

Kozlovsky said the large beaver population is beginning to cause significant damage to forests and farms. The Forestry Ministry said it was encouraging the hunting of beavers, once prized for their fur and gland secretions, which were used for medicinal purposes. But since they’re such easy targets near dams, says ministry spokesman Alexander Kozorez, “beaver hunting holds little sporting interest.”

“Hunting them is more like work,” he said.

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Photo: Associated Press