What I want to know is Who decides these things? What all-powerful overseeing force determines how every reporter is going to talk about beavers in every region and every country with the flick of a finger? Is there some giant war room where multiple screens determine the headlines on every news source in the hemisphere? I guess it could be something as simple as a press release, but maybe it’s a whole underground beaver cabal string-puller we don’t even suspect. Case in point:
This chunky national symbol has Hamilton Animal Services to thank for seeing him through to Canada’s 150th birthday.
The service responded to a call on Tuesday reporting a beaver wedged in a wrought iron fence. In their news release, the agency said they suspected the animal tumbled part-way through, but then found itself unable to wriggle its winter-heavy posterior between the bars.
Animal services officer Sarah Mombourquette freed the portly beast with the help of fast thinking and a common household ingredient – a little bit soap slicked him up enough to slip the rest of the way through
While beavers don’t hibernate, this adult male was clearly carrying a bit of extra weight after a less-active winter season. Slightly above-average temperatures across southern Ontario this past winter may have helped him along in packing on the pounds; the winter of 2015/2016 saw an epidemic of fat squirrelsthanks to milder weather giving them more access than usual to food through the winter months.
After the rescue, animal services transferred the beaver to Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge in Jarvis, where he’ll spend some time recovering from his injuries before being rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
“Conservation efforts have led to a healthy beaver population and in honour of Canada 150, Hamilton Animal Services is thrilled to give this beaver a happy ending,” said Paoila Pianegonda, the city’s Manager of Animal Services. “We believe that no beaver should be left behind.”
Even if his behind is what got him in trouble in the first place.
Ha ha ha! Get it? Because he’s a pudgy beaver! Right? We all know beavers are skinny and fluffy little rabbit sized rodents with long tails. Because the warm winter meant that the beaver was awake and eating all winter. Like YOU you lazy couch potato. Because under normal conditions a beaver would easily pass through a wrought iron fence.
First of all, I hate to break it to you, and forgive me for interrupting your little castor fat-shaming session, that isn’t a fat beaver. It’s a grown up beaver. Maybe not even grown up. Maybe a disperser. You forgot how big an adult beaver is because we killed them all. Second of all, beavers get THINNER in the winter not fatter. The winter freeze means they have to live off the food they stored, so as the winter drags on the is less and less to eat. Third of all, even if there was a very, very warm winter and the lucky beaver could go get fresh food all the time because the water was never frozen, there is still no reason he would put on more weight in the winter because he would be doing the same things he normally did.
Instead, of accusing that beaver of sloth, I wonder, if you could for a moment, just remember back to the days of your childhood where you were certain that your head would easily fit through the stair banister railing, or your brother’s headboard, or the fence slats in the garden. Do you remember what a shock it was to find that not only could you not get through, which you had been certain you could do, you could even not get back out? Your friend Whitey tried to pull you out and failed, then your brother and finally your dad. Do you remember how lonely and cold it got waiting for the fire department to come and set you free?
As horrific. terrifying and humiliating that fateful day was, aren’t you glad there wasn’t an international headline the next morning saying it happened because of your pudgy head?
With me it was my right thumb. And a very inviting and mysterious hole inside the handlebar of my highchair where the tray table usually snapped in. We didn’t have enough chairs at for our big (Catholic) family for me to sit on one at the table for a while, so I stuck with the highchair longer than most. I remember my mother telling me, when I poked that inviting opening curiously, “Don’t put your finger in there!” Ah, whose life wouldn’t have been different if they had listened to that advice?
So obviously I never got my thumb stuck in the whole one night after a particularly unappetizing dinner. And I never had to tell my parents the awful truth after all the plates were cleared away. And my father didn’t have to try vasoline and finally ice to ease it out. What I can assure you, is that my 2 year old thumb was not pudgy from winter, and I certainly wasn’t happy about those long hours I waited for the swelling to go down so I could get it back.
Something tells me that beaver wasn’t either.
Believe it or not, the bagpipe player who helps out at the festival found this in his Canadian nature news feed and shared it with me. Small, small world. This is the Michel LeClare workshop we talked about earlier.