Wolf attack in Minnesota injures sleeping teen

August 27, 2013 (LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH, Minn.)

State wildlife officials believe it may be the first such attack in state history. Investigators are trying to determine if rabies is to blame for the attack.

State wildlife experts call Saturday's attack freakish and unprecedented. It was 4 a.m., and 16-year-old Noah Graham was sleeping outside a tent in the West Winne Campground when the 75-pound male grey wolf clamped its jaws onto his skull.

"The wolf just came up from behind Noah, they didn't hear anything and just grabbed him by the back of the head and wouldn't let go," said dad Scott Graham.

His laceration required 17 staples to close and has several puncture wounds behind the ear. He's already begun a regimen to fight off potential rabies.

"He had to physically pry the jaws of the wolf open and to get it off, and once he got it off and up, the wolf stood there growling at him so he had to shout at it and kick at it to get it to go away," Scott Graham said.

Still, the question is why did the lone wolf attack? After it was captured and killed, an exam showed the wolf had a deformed jaw that may have made it less effective hunting down wild prey.

"It's too early to speculate as far as condition or causes with this animal, but it is not characteristic of wolves to approach people," said a wildlife official.

Veterinarians are using DNA from the wound to verify that the dead wolf was responsible for the attack. They're also testing the dead animal for rabies.

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