Archive for the ‘Beaver Behavior’ Category

It’s what I DO, man…

Posted by heidi08 On March - 31 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Oh! Looks like our beavers approve of the watershed stewards hard work! Jon wrapped half the new stakes on friday, and they were quick to take a nibble. They’re all protected now!


The whole thing gave me an idea…now I just need some funky beaver folks to record this.  (Ahem).  Free beaver t-shirt for the artist(s) that give this wings! Pass it on. Hit play for some mood music while you read.


When the beaver starts a’chewing
There’s a thing you should be doing
If you want to save your treeline
Better go and make a beeline
For the wire
Get a plier
It’s not dire
I’m no liar
Do the tree-wrap, rap
Do the tree-wrap, rap
 In the yard and in the garden
Wrap it up and beg their pardon
Not too tight, the tree will widen
And it the wire it will tighten
Wire thicken
Not for chicken
Paint with sandy
Comes in handy
Do the tree-wrap, rap
Do the tree-wrap, rap
Save your maple and your aspen
Here’s the point that needed graspen’
Come protect the plants that need you
And the fruit trees that will feed you
I’m not crazy
Don’t be lazy
Stop your trappin’
And start wrappin
Do the tree-wrap, rap
Do the tree-wrap, rap!

Don’t blame me. You knew it had to be done.

Oh, and I know we’re all relieved to know there’s at least ONE stupid person in Sweden. The article is kind enough to say he wasn’t hurt. But mark my words, it will be everywhere as a life threatening attack tomorrow…

Beaver bites bus passenger in Sweden

Pentti Savola, 58, was among a group of early morning commuters waiting to get a bus to work when the animal came up to him and bit his leg last week.

 ”It was lightning fast. I never thought that an animal that looks so clumsy could be so crafty,” she told Swedish news site

 He said that he may have stressed the animal out when he tried to take a photo of it with his mobile.

 But after his own stressful experience, he said he wanted to tell his story to warn children that they should not pet beavers without knowing more about the animals.


Out & About with Trout

Posted by heidi08 On March - 29 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

So I’ve been getting ready for the trout talk, and trying to pull things together.Niles2 I stumbled across this ominous paper and was feeling a little anxious. They had a 10-foot dam they ripped out and counted lots of trout afterwards. It was published in 2013 and concluded that this was a great way to help trout. At least in the short term, which (as we know) is all anyone ever thinks about.

I immediately turned to the very wise Rickipedia who reviews research for a living and asked his thoughts. He helped me understand the following:
NilesLokteffRick directed me to the more respected paper by Lokteff, Roper and Wheaton. It was completed on a much broader scale and concluded pretty much the opposite. Both papers were published the same year, and neither one mentions the other.

What is particularly interesting in this paper, which looked at many dams over 4 years, is that natives like cutthroat and brook  did better with beaver dams than non native ones (brown). And that little fish crossed dams less often than bigger fish. (Size matters after all).

Lokteff1All of which sounds pretty good for beavers, and I’m not surprised to see Joe Wheaton’s name among the authors. Apparently you can’t just rip out a beaver dam, count the trout, and call it research. Who knew? Anyway, it renewed my focus for the talk, and inspired me to make this, which I like VERY much. Thanks Amelia!

Trout & Beaver

You otter see this…

Posted by heidi08 On March - 27 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Thank goodness. No amazing news for beavers today. Finally we can catch our breath and have some fun. Enjoy! Tomorrow they’ll be updates about this afternoon’s tree planting by California Conservation Core interns. Until then, you get the very best beaver fluff pieces.


VIOLENCE between beaver and otter gangs is spiralling out of control.

 Beavers have been reintroduced to river environments, prompting a deadly backlash from heavily armed otters.

 Naturalist Emma Bradford said: “We knew the otters were violent but did not anticipate that the beavers had their own gangs like Dam U 2 Hell Crew, Beevs and Buck Tooth Massive.

 “The otters had been moving a lot of crack and meth up and down the River Frome, but the beavers built dams in key areas and demanded a ‘tax’ to let them through.”

 Gunplay ensued, with nine voles, a moorhen and an environmentalist doing a study on breeding patterns among those caught in the crossfire.

Bradford added: “I would stay away from the riverbanks even if you really want a picnic.”

 However beaver M-Phibious said: “We got nothing but love. Just chewing some logs, that’s all.

 “But if otters come to us then shit could get really real.”

 Hahahahahaha. News trying to be wittingly comic really shouldn’t be encouraged in any way (M-Phibious!) but this made me giggle. Otters lead such charmed lives, rolling about  being cute and posing for photos. Hardly anyone wants to kill them and they never get accused of flooding roads or plugging culverts.

Intrepid beaver reporter that I am, I took some time to look around for footage to go with this story. This is perfect.

This just in…beavers make dams!

Posted by heidi08 On March - 14 - 2015Comments Off

If you’re feeling a case of Deja Vu, you’re not the only one. Honestly, how long will people act like this is suddenly news? OPB did an entire program on the subject 5 years ago, and now they just now ‘discovered’ it?

Beavers provide free labor to build salmon habitat

Oregon Public Broadcasting

 They may be our state animal, but many people think beavers are a nuisance. They can cause flooding to parks, backyards, and farmland, and it was long believed that salmon couldn’t pass through beaver dams. But now some scientists have found that beaver dams actually create a good habitat for young salmon.

Not that we’re not thrilled to people finally reading the writing on their own walls.  But it would be nice if the jury decision showed any sign of sticking. It seems to wash away over night. This story originally appeared in 2010.

Beaver Assisted Restoration . TV | OPB.

CaptureStay tuned! Because in five years this is going to be a very exciting headline again!

But the best news this morning is from Devon, England. Where the beavers have all passed their test with flying colors and are ready to be released. Really.

Devon wild beavers cleared to stay on River Otter

 Devon’s wild beavers will be allowed to stay on the River Otter after being found clear of a disease.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed the beavers were free of tapeworm.

 Devon Wildlife Trust won a five-year licence to look after the beavers as long as they were free of the parasitic disease which is harmful to humans.

Whooo hooo! After being bagged, tagged, poked and prodded the beavers are free! (And just three days after you read it HERE FIRST it appears in the BBC!) I couldn’t be happier for these new citizens. Congratulations to all the farmers, teachers and shop keepers who talked to their neighbors and shared the news to pressure DEFRA into allowing this. Congratulations to the Devon Wildlife Trust for making it happen, and congratulations to the beavers themselves, who obviously let themselves be seen in the first place.

Just like we saw here in Martinez, sometimes beavers can be protected by the opposite of camouflage.

Beaver Ponds are Education just waiting to happen

Posted by heidi08 On March - 10 - 2015Comments Off

CaptureBeaver Ponds is an Environmental Education  center at 10,000 ft on 70 acres of land in Fairplay Colorado. It defines itself with the mission statement:

To introduce people to the role and importance of preserving and promoting a physical environment that is healthy and sustainable for all living things – people, animals and plants.

It seems like a fairly dynamic teaching site, and must have recently revamped its website because I just got an alert about the group the other day.    They have a link to the recent New York Times beaver article on their website including the correction about beavers not living in the DAM prompted by yours truly, but I was still suspicious. It wouldn’t be the first time that all the beavers were trapped out to make room for a shiny education facility.

Were there any actual beavers at BPEEC?


Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center
August 20, 2014 ·Photo take at 6:20 AM. Beavers are usually not out when the sun is up.

Apparently there were. I poked around their facebook page and found these photos of night shots of their beavers. I was very happy to see them, but since there about 85 miles away from Sherri Tippie they need to bring her on up and  get a little more beaver education I think.


Um, no. Despite what that guy in college told you, this isn’t what love looks like. This is what Hope Ryden called a ‘push match’ where two yearlings wrestle to see who is stronger. If you had any brothers at all in your life you’ve seen it before. It’s not aggressive or amorous, but it definitely helps them practice for the big world they will find when they disperse.

Here’s two of our 2009 yearlings doing the very same thing at the primary dam. Enjoy!


Beavers high and low

Posted by heidi08 On March - 8 - 2015Comments Off

Polish beavers scale new heights

 Poland’s sole high-mountain national park gets its first-ever beaver colony, the park rangers said on Tuesday. The beavers, which have so far limited themselves to scouring the foothills of the Tatra mountains, have scaled the slopes up to the level of 1,100 metres above sea level this winter.

 This marks the first time that rodent engineers have been spotted this high. “These are pioneer climbers,” among beavers, ranger Marcin Strączek-Helios is quoted as saying.

 The rangers are yet to see the beavers with the naked eye, but the effects of their presence have been obvious since October. Felled trees with trunk perimeter of 10-20 centimetres blocked the Palenica stream near the famous lake of Morskie Oko, creating a pool of water 1.5 metre deep and 10 metres wide.

 Two animals, thought to be international migrants from Slovakia, have been caught on camera. The exact size of the colony is yet to be determined.


Tatra National Park boasts views like this, a high peak of 8100 ft, miles of rivers, waterfalls with oohs and ahhs from grateful tourists but is probably best known for its over 650 caves.Many of which are open to the public, including the world famous Demänovská Ice Cave and the breathtaking Demänovská Cave of Liberty.

All of which made me think about the entirely new idea of beavers in caves.

Think about it. Beavers aren’t very keen on eyesight, they live mostly in the dark anyway, have thick fur coats so they won’t mind the cold, and spending 3 months in a frozen lodge can’t be all that different from spending  a year in a cave. Of course I had to go looking to see if such a thing ever happened. And what do you think I found?

CaptureEureka! Not only does that make total sense and suggest our Polish friends might be thriving in caves, it also explains the ANCIENT mystery in my mind of how beavers can coexist with alligators, which being reptiles are cold blooded and need more sun than their dam-building neighbors.  You can read the rest of the Florida article here, but suffice it to say that the next explorers in those Polish caves shouldn’t be at all surprised if they see this:

b min caLast night we met Danielle from the Academy of Sciences down at the beaver dam. She is writing an article for their new longer web format and had talked to Michael Pollock earlier about beavers and salmon. She said she hadn’t been lucky looking for beavers in Yellowstone but her luck changed in Martinez. She was rewarded with a happy adult sighting and very surprised to find out that beavers were BIG. After she headed home to Oakland mom and kit popped out to say goodbye. A good beaver evening, and thank goodness day light savings is over and we can see them earlier.

Those trampy American Beavers….

Posted by heidi08 On March - 1 - 2015Comments Off

Canadians too. Apparently only the european beaver knows how to make a marriage work.

CaptureBeavers pair up for life and never cheat

European beavers are truly monogamous, but the same cannot be said of their North American counterparts

Most animals aren’t the marrying kind. Less than five percent are believed to pair together for life, and even if they do stay together they do plenty of cheating.  But not European beavers. Not only do they pair up for life, a new genetic analysis shows that they are faithful to each other.

 A team led by Pavel Munclinger from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic took samples from several European beaver colonies living in the Kirov region of Russia. They then analysed the genetic relationships among family groups.

 In every colony, all the offspring belonged to both of the parents. None of them had been fathered by males from elsewhere.

The same cannot be said for their American counterparts. North American beavers are known to mate with beavers other than their bonded partners.

 They cheat a lot. In 2008, researchers discovered that the “father” of a pair of young was unrelated to at least one of them about half of the time.

I knew all this monogamy business was a smokescreen! How many times have I been watching our beavers and seen mom bat her come-hither eyes at the nearest woody offering! (There’s a reason the word beaver has another meaning ya know…) We read this particular research they’re referring too back in 2008 in preparation for our historic prevalence paper. The authors referred to it as “opportunistic monogomy” and Rickipedia quipped that the term describes most males of the human species too. Ha.

Cheating does have its advantages. If a mother mates with a healthier male than her main partner, she can pass better genes onto her young.

 But there are also advantages to staying loyal. “Genetic monogamy lowers the risk of parasite transmission,” says Munclinger.

 ”It also lowers the risk of partner desertion, which is very important in species with extensive parental care of both sexes.”

 Staying faithful seems to serve the European beavers well. Their populations have been climbing in areas of the UK where they have been reintroduced.

It’s good that this news is being lauded in the British Press. They need another reason to like beavers and being told ‘theirs are better’ is a great way to convince the holdouts. In  a more sober consideration you have to wonder whether population density matters. And whether  having very little competition affects how faithful beavers chose to be. Most of Europe is as crammed with beaver as it is with people now and those beavers don’t cheat apparently. Our population is decimated and our beavers mate with anything they can get. Maybe the facts are related. Didn’t a pair from the (no beavers for 500 years) Scottish beaver trial hook up with other beavers?

We  American beaver-lovers will just continue being content with their slutty ways until the population gets fuller, I guess.

And in case you need more praises sung for beavers, here’s a fun reminder from Fairbanks Alaska

Rodents are remarkable creatures, not pests

If you only think of rodents as pests, you are missing out. One reason these animals are misunderstood is because there are so many of them. More, in fact, than any other kind of mammal, but they play an important role in the ecosystem.“

 Some of these rodents are referred to by ecologists as indicator species,” Nations says, “because they indicate the health of an ecosystem.”

 Another example is the role that beavers play in creating wetlands that are used by many bird species. Beaver ponds also can be convenient places to spot moose and muskrats are known to take up residence in beaver lodges, as well.

Theresa Baker ends the nice article by suggesting kids build a ‘rodent collection’ in their home, you know a clay porcupine with toothpick spines etc. Good idea, and I would definitely include one of these:


Inspired by the fact that a beaver kit is shaped exactly like a peanut. Peppercorn nose, lentil ears, black mustard seed eyes and pumpkin seed tail set in macaroni noodle, Worth A Dam original