Beavers are found throughout the entire United States. They are the largest of the North American rodents, with adult beavers generally weighing between 35 – 50 pounds and some occasionally reaching 100 pounds! They may have an ungainly waddle on land but they are graceful in the water. Their large, webbed hind feet work like swimming fins which allow them to swim up to five miles an hour. Beavers can remain underwater for 15 minutes without surfacing due to their valvular ears, eyes and lips that seal out water and their transparent eyelids which function much like goggles. Beaver are well known for their teeth and their tails. Due to the fact that their teeth continuously grow, they must chew on wood daily to keep them shortened and sharpened. In the water, they use their flat, scaly, and hairless tail as a rudder and on land, they use it as a prop to sit upright while feeding.
Beavers burrow in the banks of rivers and lakes, but they can also quickly transform less suitable spots into their favorite type of watery habitat. They do this by creating massive log, branch, and mud structures consisting of felled and gnawed trees. These structures dam up streams, turning low fields into large ponds. These dams can flood homes, ruin crops, and wash out bridges, roads, and walkways.
Beavers create other structures out of branches and mud—lodges. These lodges are strategically built in the middle of ponds and can only be reached by underwater entrances. Extended beaver families of six or more live in these lodges, including monogamous parents, young kits, and the yearlings born the previous spring.
Predators and Population Control
Beaver kits are prey to hawks, owls, and otters while older beavers’ predators are bears, wolves, dogs, and coyotes. Beaver overpopulation is rare because beavers only breed once a year, their offspring leaves home when they are two years old, and fewer kits are born when occupancy reaches a certain level.
Signs of Beaver Activity
After weaning, beavers love to eat leaves, twigs, roots, aquatic plants, and their primary food source—tree bark. This makes identifying beaver activity pretty easy. Dams, lodges, and trees stripped of bark on the lower three feet of their trunks are obvious signs of beaver activity.
To protect trees and displace beavers from their dams and dens you can perform a few habitat modifications. Protect trees from beavers by wrapping their trunks with hardware cloth. You may be able to prompt beavers to relocate by repeatedly (possibly daily) destroying their dams and lodges. If these options do not work you may be forced to have the persistent offender trapped and relocated. This procedure should only be done by a professional.
Trust Wild Trappers
If you are in need of assistance with beavers on your property, call the skilled professionals at Wild Trappers. Our state certified wildlife trappers will remove beavers and any other nuisance wildlife from your property via safe and humane animal trapping and removal techniques.