Beavershark - [Fearsome Critter] - Latin: (Maximum Bitemus)
• About this critter: A semiaquatic carnivore familiar to the white water rapids near summer camps across North America, said to have the head of a beaver and the body of a shark. - [Other times it's the head of a shark and body of a beaver, no two accounts can fully agree.] - Their migratory pattern means they tend to inhabit deeper waters in the summer and hibernate during the autumn and winter, Weather or not the creatures build dams is strangely, undocumented. They have a diet consisting mainly of turtles and fish (But have been known to nip young campers that swim out of bounds!) - Often blamed for the disappearance of campers or tipped kayaks. - Various accounts say that their bite is extremely toxic & their fins are razor sharp! - The dangerous critters are repelled either by Sunscreen or specialty made repellent*
• History: Its a modern legend which seems to be widely enjoyed and spread between various YMCA & youth Scout Camps across North America, particularly around Georgia (Though the legend does seem to have variants stretching as far south as camps in Florida too!) - Most likely originating as a boogieman sort of warning by counselors to stop kids from swimming when they warned not to. –
"Watch out for beaver sharks, they're vicious!!!" - Urban Dictionary." 2009
There are several humorous video documentaries on the subject, have been written and self-published (by both Scouts & Counsellors themselves.) - a few i found via a quick google search: [RiverValley, 2008],[Twin lakes, 2013], [Rising son, 2014], [Lincoln, 2017] & [Woodruff, 2023.]) - The Beaver Shark as a symbol also adorns several patches, hats, and other apparel sold by camps) During the pandemic, in 2020: it seems Chattahoochee scouts where also awarded with a masked beaver-shark badge for a "quarantine challenge."]
• Regional Variants:
"There are two distinct varieties of Beavershark. Those with a head of a beaver and the tail and abdomen of a shark, and those with the head of a shark and the abdomen and tail of a beaver. The former is much less dangerous than the latter, which has a much more vicious bite. It is approximately 3 to 4 feet in length from tooth to tail, and weighs approximately 10 to 65 pounds when fully grown. It is three percent fat by body weight, with its teeth weighing up to a pound apiece. Its teeth have serrated edges that rival the sharpest razor made by man. The teeth contain hollow tubes that allow for neurotoxins to be channeled into its victims flesh. The neurotoxins take effect within 3 to 7 seconds rendering the victim helpless and immobile, as the Beavershark slowly drags the victim under the water. The Beaversharks fins are also razor-sharp and have been known to slice skin apart with the slightest amount of contact. It can swim up to speeds of 75 miles per hour, and have been known to slam into the sides of Lake Eden and cause earthquakes. Its life expectancy is near 25 years, although this is unconfirmed. However, it can be repelled by - picture below) which keeps the beast away from docks and people. However, the repellent must be re-applied every year, which forces Rockmont staff to drain the lake. Also mildly effective is the use of Ear Candy, which besides protecting from ear infection, can stop the beast from jumping out of the water and biting humans. The only known habitat of the Beavershark is Lake Eden on the property of Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, NC, although it may exist other undiscovered places in the world. It is generally feared by the Black Mountain community, as several fatal attacks have occurred in the past half-century. Although it is rumored that two 'friendly' Beaversharks exist in cages underneath the Rockmont waterfront, this has yet to be proven as the bubbles that come to the surface are most likely water-filtration mechanisms, not beaversharks breathing underwater. The beavershark is listed as Critically Endangered, due to its small population size, but has no known predators and is largely though to be un-killable by humankind. This means that the beavershark will continue to exist as long as Lake Eden and Camp Rockmont exist."
[a screen-cap of a dictionary which includes an entry for "beaver-sharks" sourcing them to Manchester, Maryland. - Unfortunately the book of origin/date is currently unknown, image source is a 2008 documentary by @JustinGladden (Who's website is sadly also defunct.) if it looks familiar, let me know!
• Tenessee: The earliest published news record referring to 'Beaver Sharks' living in "white water rapids" (that i could personally find) are from Tenessee 1981, where-in Professor Randall Hall blames the creature for flipped canoes! Given the time frame of these last two, its quite possible that the legend goes back much further orally by word of mouth! – how far back does this legend really go? Who can actually say?? Ask your camp seniors!