beaver attack
Wildlife experts yesterday issued a safety warning - after a chef was attacked by a wild beaver.

Ross Smith was driving along a country road with his friends when they spotted a mysterious brown creature on the grass verge.

When the 20-year-old got out of the car and went to investigate, the animal turned nasty and, snarling, leapt at him.

The 3ft long beaver is believed to be one of a colony of the animals living wild in Lintrathen Loch, near Kirriemuir in Angus.

Extraordinary mobile phone camera footage of Mr Smith's encounter now been posted on the internet, prompting a leading academic to warn the public not to approach the furry rodents.

Although it is not clear what provoked the beaver to attack, one of his friends can be heard asking: 'Is that a platypus?'

Mr Smith, who works in a cafe in Edzell, captured the encounter on his mobile phone and shared it online.

Fortunately he was not hurt by the animal, which he estimated to be about a 3ft (1 metre) long and to weigh about 25-30kg (55-66lbs).

He and his friends Shaun Kidd, also 20, and Reece Kettles, 22, were taking a leisurely drive in the countryside when they glimpsed the nocturnal creature waddling down the road in broad daylight.

He said: 'We were just away up at Lintrathen Loch and we were on our way back to Kirriemuir. There's not very much to do around here so we had gone for a drive.

'We had just come past Kinnordy and we saw this big sort of animal in the road.

'We thought it was a big cat or something so we got out and that's when I started videoing.

'All of a sudden Shaun was like, 'It's a platypus‎!' but we knew it was a beaver.'

'He's a wee bit simple sometimes.

'It was big, about three and a half feet long. It was about 25 or 30 kilos, you wouldn't want to go up against it.

'I wouldn't want to fight with it, not at all. It would chew your leg off.

'I was trying to get closer to it and then it just started looking at me and growling and that was when it jumped. It was making this sort of a hissy growl noise.

'It all happened pretty ‎quickly. It was pretty scary. '

The footage, just 14 seconds long, shows the beaver walking along a single track country road on a balmy spring afternoon.

As the group of friends get nearer, it moves onto the grass verge.

The young men's voices can be heard saying: 'Is it a platypus?' and, 'What's it doing here?' before the animal dramatically leaps towards the camera, hissing and baring its teeth.

‎Screams and then whoops of laughter are then heard as the three friends beat a hasty retreat towards their vehicle.

Mr Smith reported that the beaver did not appear unduly stressed by its brush with humanity.

He said: 'We ran away back to the car and it just continued doing its thing.

'It started keeping itself to itself again and just carried on walking down the side of the road.

'When I told my family and showed them the video they thought it was hilarious.'

He added: 'It was funny, it was scary, it was just a bit weird as well.

'We weren't expecting it at all. Especially in broad daylight, you wouldn't expect to see a beaver walking about.'