Jerry Czech, a Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer, till wants people to stay out of Pennypack Creek for the next week or so.
A rabid beaver bit two adults and one child. That animal was captured and killed.
“It is very likely that this beaver got this disease from a raccoon,” said Dough Killough, the game commission’s Southeast Region director.
Although the game commission announced Monday that no further suspected rabies cases have been found along the creek, people are still being urged to avoid the creek between Bustleton Avenue and the Roosevelt Boulevard. Czech stressed in an interview last week that the commission is not warning people to stay away from Pennypack Park. He just wants folks to stay out of the creek’s waters.
He said that anyone who spots beavers — distinguished from other large rodents by their flat scaly tails — should keep their distance. If the animal bites or has contact with a human, after medical care is received, a report should be made to the game commission’s Southeast Region at 610-926-3136.
Rabies is a viral disease affecting the nervous system. Hundreds of animals every year are found to be rabid in Pennsylvania.
Czech said people often mistake other animals for beavers. Groundhogs, for example, while fat and furry like beavers, don’t have big, flat tails; neither do muskrats.
After reading a story about the beavers in last week’s Northeast Times, one woman said she saw a beaver on her father’s Brookdale Road property, near Pennypack Park.
On June 1, a beaver bit a woman on her leg while she and her husband were fishing on the Pennypack near Bustleton Avenue. The animal bit her husband in both arms and his chest when he tried to help his wife. On June 2, a small child was bitten by a beaver near Roosevelt Boulevard, game commission spokesman Jerry Feaser aid in a news release, adding that a Fairmount Park ranger had captured a beaver 500 yards from where the child was bitten.
Czech went to the scene and killed the animal, which was tested and found to be rabid. ••