Monday, April 16, 2007

Speaking of rodents...

Beavers 1, Tree 0:

Yes, it was a busy weekend for the beavers who have a lodge at the edge of our property. They managed to bring down a very large tree, after much gnawing:

Fortunately, the tree fell away from the brand-new dock our landlord built last fall (and has on dry land until the spring thaw is complete.) And the large hole in the tree next to the stump was made by a pileated woodpecker looking for insect treats:

I can't believe how fast this tree went down. We never even heard it fall, if we were at home at the time. Here Gordon surveys the veeeeery long tree and marvels at the cutting ability of big beaver incisors:

Poor tree! The birch on the left has green fencing around precisely to keep the beavers from lunching on it. They already make off with any branch that dares to stick through the fencing!

When beavers fell large trees like this, they are mostly interested in the tasty young branches closer to the top. They tend to leave the large part of the tree where it is, but they'll strip the top bare. Nummy, nummy.

The local cottagers on this lake get ticked when the beavers dam things up under the bridge, so every winter somebody sends out trappers. (I'm not clear on who does this but I think the municipality may pay them.) The trappers were here many times this winter on our property, which is the only place with land access to the lodge. Nice pair of guys who seemed to know what they were doing. However, I did not want to KNOW what they were actually doing.

Frankly, I am glad that the beavers have outsmarted the trappers. I have learned that trapping is just not an effective way to deal with the problems caused by these humungous rodents. There are alternatives! Let's just say that if we owned this place, we'd be forcing people to use the more effective alternatives instead of letting them trap on our property.

I wouldn't necessarily be against trapping them if it were actually EFFECTIVE and there weren't alternatives, but it's not, and there are.

So three cheers for the beavers, symbol of Canada: big hairy rodents that gnaw constantly and live in a lodge and dam a lot. Yup, that's us Canucks. But I do feel sorry for the tree.

ADDENDUM: Somebody asked for more info about options other than trapping. They do exist!

First, here is a good HSUS article:

HSUS Beaver/Wildlife Article

and here is an article about the device I saw on a good TV programme about beavers, the Beaver Deceiver:

Zoocheck Article

And another useful article:


  1. That's a big freakin' tree for little beavers! Go Beavers!


  2. I graduated from Beaverton High School, home of the Beavers. Really.

  3. Anonymous6:01 pm

    Can you expand a little on what you mean by alternatives... I'm curious.

  4. You should know by now, Pnat. The beavers always win.

  5. I saw a good Canadian TV program about beavers recently, and they showed a company in the US that makes these devices to stop beavers from damming up things like drains and culverts and so forth, and do you think I can remember the name of the company right now? Nooooo! I will keep searching. I also found this place, that uses electric fencing:

    The problem with trapping is that, like Crowzma said, the beavers always win in the end. They are VERY persistent!

    I do know someone who solved his beaver issues by putting pipe bombs in beaver lodges and dams, and blowing up both the beavers and their homes, but I find that a pretty distasteful solution. Also I can't believe that the beavers won't eventually return.

    I will keep looking for the other place I heard about and report back!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!