| The beaver from Belarus and other deadly animals|
|The beaver is an unbearably cute animal. When standing, it holds its little paws together as if nervous. When in water, it looks like a fat, damp squirrel. And when it eats, it nibbles like a naughty child. But beavers bite, and in Belarus attacks by the animals are on the rise. In fact, they have just claimed their first fatality: a 60-year-old fisherman who spotted the cute little creature at the side of the road, stopped to pose with it for a photograph and was bitten several times in the leg, slicing an artery. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a doctor's clinic.|
Beavers are not the animal kingdom's only adorable attackers. Take, for example, the lemur, arguably one of the cuddliest of exotic creatures. Earlier this year, a pair of the ring-tailed cuties had to be rounded up by police after escaping from their owner's cage, prowling the streets of North Miami Beach and clawing a two-year-old girl in the face.
Or, say, the kinkajou, AKA the honey bear, a super-sweet rainforest mammal with huge round and innocent eyes, increasingly popular as a pet among people with a thirst for attention and the exotic. People such as Paris Hilton, who, in 2006, was rushed to hospital by her publicist at 3am after her pet kinkajou Baby Luv got overexcited and bit her in the arm, drawing blood. Although, in the kinkajou's defence, she had named it Baby Luv.
Even the definitively cuddly baby panda can turn nasty. They may be strictly vegetarian bamboo-lovers but they are still bears, as one tourist found out after stroking a giant panda baby a little too enthusiastically at China's Wolong Panda Reserve and being wrestled to the ground and grabbed around the waist in response.
Then, of course, less exotically, there's the badger. Which, to be fair, we have learnt to keep our distance from ever since a "rogue badger" went on a miniature violent spree in Worcestershire back in 2003, attacking five people and leaving one of its victims in need of two skin grafts. Witness accounts at the time read like scenes from a horror film: "My husband opened the door and the badger sat there and then, gradually, just slowly walked towards him and attacked him."
The lesson? Cute doesn't mean cuddly. And, if you ever find yourself in Belarus, don't answer the door to a beaver.