BUTLER TOWNSHIP, PA (WPMT/CNN) – A peaceful day kayaking turned into something straight out of a horror movie for a father and daughter in Pennsylvania.
That’s because they came head to head with a rabid beaver.
Dan Wherley and his 7-year-old daughter Layla were kayaking on the Conewago Creek with their dog Ellie May when a beaver started scratching and biting Wherley’s brand new kayak.
"And I thought, ‘That’s pretty cool – a beaver came up to us!’" Wherley said.
Wherley even grabbed his phone to record the seemingly harmless encounter, thinking no one would believe him.
But he soon discovered the beaver was relentless.
"It wouldn’t stop, so I used my paddle, tried to hit it to get it away, and it just wouldn’t stop," Wherley said.
Wherley used what he had on hand: his paddle.
"I hit him with [the paddle] a lot, but once I knew he wasn’t stopping, I pulled it in half, and I was holding it like this and hitting him with the metal part. I figured that would do more," he said, demonstrating how he struck the beaver with his paddle.
The beaver finally let up – and went straight for little Layla’s kayak.
"The beaver came up to the kayak, and tried to get in the kayak," Layla said.
Wherley rushed to her rescue.
"I jumped out of my kayak and ran to her," he said. "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, because I didn’t have anything with me."
Eventually, the fight went to shore, where Wherley killed the beaver.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed the beaver had rabies; the Wherleys had to get a number of shots after their encounter.
"I was just worrying about [Layla] getting bit. That would’ve been horrible. I couldn’t imagine," Wherley said.
Layla’s now understandably scared to get in a kayak, but said she may try again one day soon.
As for her dad, he said 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.
People might be wondering: What did the dog do the whole time?
Wherley said it sat in the bushes, hiding.
Officials said this is the first time there’s been a rabid beaver in Adams County, PA.
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