A beaver reportedly took a man hostage in Latvia

Beaver reportedly takes man hostage in Latvia.
(Image credit: iStock)

No, you did not read that headline wrong. Yes, a beaver took a man hostage in Latvia.

According to the editor of the local paper in Daugavpils, Latvia, a man named Sergei was walking through the city streets late at night when a beaver ran out of the shadows and sunk its teeth into the man's leg. Sergei apparently tried to fight back and ended up falling; on the ground, he got pinned by the beaver, which would bite him every time he tried to get back up.

Sergei managed to get ahold of his phone and called rescue services — who promptly hung up on him because "I am being held hostage by a beaver right now" definitely sounds like a bad prank call.

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So Sergei then called his friend, who, after some convincing, was persuaded to come to the rescue. Only — yes, it gets worse — the friend was then pulled over for speeding on the way to save Sergei. The friend then had to convince the police officer of the hairy situation and, after what one can imagine was a very awkward breathalyzer test, the police officer decided the friend was telling the truth and radioed in animal welfare officers to help.

Beavers are protected in Latvia, and so the critter was shooed off alive (and to this day, it still haunts the dark streets of Daugavpils, presumably). Sergei fared less well, requiring 15 stitches in his leg.

Mihails Pupiņš, director of the Daugavpils Zoo, told LSM that beavers can indeed be very aggressive in the spring and pose a danger to humans as the males search for new territory. Pupiņš suggested that if you ever find yourself being pursued by a beaver, the best course of action is to run away.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at TheWeek.com. She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.