Teen survives wolf attack while camping in Minnesota

August 28, 2013 7:03:42 PM PDT
A 16-year-old boy is home recovering from a vicious wolf attack in the Minnesota wilderness. It's being called the first confirmed attack of a person by a gray wolf in Minnesota history, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

It happened early Saturday morning at the West Winnie Campground on Lake Winnibigoshish in north central Minnesota. The campground is operated by the U.S. Forest Service and was temporarily closed following the wolf attack

Noah Graham says he was lying in a sleeping bag, talking to a friend, when he was mauled from behind by the wolf. The 75-pound animal clamped its jaws onto his skull and wouldn't let go.

"I didn't hear the wolf coming, I didn't see it," Graham said. "Just no sense at all that it was there until it was actually on my head. I thought for sure it was going to come back at me and that's the scary part."

Graham pulled his head out of the wolf's jaws, leaving deep scratches and a four-inch gash that required 17 staples to close.

Authorities tracked down the wolf they believe attacked Graham. It's been put to sleep and is being tested for rabies.

After the animal was eventually captured and killed, a cursory examination showed the wolf had a deformed jaw. Experts say that could explain why it had difficulty pursuing food in the wild and more dependent on scavenging for meals in the campground. They say the deformity may have made the wolf less effective hunting down wild prey.

Wolf attacks on humans are incredibly rare. There have only been two documented deaths caused by wolf attacks in all of North America.

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