Beavers have moved into the neighborhood! Usually you do not see these large rodents, just their lodges, canals, dams and lots of gnawed trees. There are two varieties of beavers that live in streams, ponds, rivers, and marshes throughout North America, Europe and Asia and the reason we do not often see them is they are nocturnal. Beavers are known for changing the landscape by creating dams to block streams and turning fields into ponds, which is what they are doing in our (my mom’s) cow pasture.
Because beavers are so destructive they are often trapped and moved to a location where they can live peacefully. The beavers in this case will not be moved for the time being. Several years ago, just up the road from the new beaver pond, beavers creating a dam that flooded the road. I do not know what happened to those beavers, but I think the town had to fix the road, most likely these beavers are all related.
Beavers are herbivores, they eat water lily tubers, apples, roots, leaves and green bark from fast-growing trees, such as aspen, cottonwood, birch, alder and willow. They have flat tails that aid in swimming, temperature regulation and fat storage that allows them to stand upright. Beavers also have long, lustrous fur and webbed hind feet. They can weigh up to 40 pounds and live to be 25 years old.
In their third year beavers usually find a mate, which is for life. The parents raise their kit (babies) together, which could be one to four kits. The colonies usually consist of six or more beavers, an adult male and adult female, their kits and yearlings. After two years of age the young beavers usually move on further down stream. Most likely the beaver photographed above was a young beaver searching for a new mate, because he was spotted downstream quite a distance away from the new pond.
Beavers build ponds to create deep water to protect themselves against predators and also to float food and building materials. The deep water is important in the winter for food storage and it allows the beavers to stay warm in their lodges/dens. Left over food remains (peeled sticks) are used to build a den, lodge on the shore and/or a dam.
Nature is amazing isn’t it! Every time I walk into a field or woods, I always see something that puzzles me, is inspiring and makes me want to learn more! Have you ever seen a beaver? Or their lodges, dens or dams? We would love to hear from you, write us at farmhousemag(at)gmail(dot)com.
To learn more about beavers, visit these websites.