Hall County

Girl recovering after rabid beaver attack at Lake Lanier

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — A little girl is recovering from a beaver attack. She was bitten over the weekend while swimming in Lake Lanier in Hall County.

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The beach at Little Hall Park on Lake Lanier is one of the Stealey family’s favorite spots.

“We bring our kids here probably once a month during the summer. It’s awful to think something could happen to a child,” Kimberly Stealey told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen.

But, something did. It happened to a little girl who was swimming in the lake over the weekend not far from Little Hall. She was attacked and bitten by a beaver.

“It’s the biggest beaver he’s ever seen. He estimated it at 50 or 55 pounds which is about as big as they get in Georgia,” DNR Wildlife Resources Supervisor Don McGowan said.

He talked with the game warden who investigated. It happened just offshore along private property.

The closest public area is the Sardis Creek Boat Ramp.


Officials say the girl’s father was there and he rescued his daughter and killed the animal. The beaver later tested positive for rabies.

“Once that rabies virus gets into the brain of the animal—in this case, a beaver—they just act crazy,” McGowan said.

On the street leading down to the boat ramp, the county put up a rabies warning sign. Back over at Little Hall Park, Stealey always keeps a watchful eye on her children. From now on it’ll be both eyes.

“Oh yeah. For sure. It’s kind of scary. Makes you wonder what else is out there,” Stealey said.

Medical experts say if a person is bitten or scratched by an animal suspected of having rabies, they get shots that stop the virus. Without the shots, it is almost always fatal.

State wildlife biologists say a beaver attack is very rare. The last one they remember along Lake Lanier was 13 years ago.

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