Beaver removal. An adult beaver removed from a large farm pond in Kansas.

Beaver removal. An adult beaver removed from a large farm pond in Kansas.

Beaver removal dob in Oklahoma. A large beaver dam with trapped beaver in the background.

Beaver removal dob in Oklahoma. A large beaver dam with trapped beaver in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaver Removal:

Nuisance beaver removal is best accomplished by trapping the beaver. Beaver can cause thousands of dollars damage by clogging up overflow and drainage pipes. Beaver also cause damage by eating ornamental trees, fruit trees and shade trees. Beaver also damage pond dams by tunneling into the dam to make a den. Often times, when if the beaver move on the open den tunnel can cause an entire dam to fail during heavy rainstorms.

 

BEAVER BIOLOGY: 

The American Beaver, Castor Canadensis, is the largest rodent in North America, and the second largest in the world. They can reach up to 50 inches long and 80 pounds. Beavers mate for life. Mating occurs in late winter to early spring. A litter of 1-4 young is born in May. The young are born with  open eyes, are fully furred and are ready to swim within 24 hours. They reach maturity in about two years and set out to find their own territory.

BEAVER BEHAVIOR:

 Beavers form colonies of six to ten members, and mark their territory with castor marked mounds. They are mostly nocturnal, and gnaw down trees and twigs, and bring store them at a food cache or bring them back to their home den. They store twigs for feeding. They are nature’s engineers, and build dams in streams to make a pond. They build a lodge or dig a den within this pond, often in a man-made dam. They also build canals in order to transport wood or travel to a food source. When in danger, they often slap their tails on the water as a warning sign for other beavers in the colony. They primarily eat bark and cambium (the soft wood under the bark).

NUISANCE BEAVER CONCERNS: 

The main problem is that they flood areas when they dam areas and have a fondness for crops like corn. This can cause a number of problems, such as  crop destruction, timber loss, flooding of property, or flooding of roadways and erosion. They may also cause expensive tree destruction, especially in fruit orchards, timber properties and tree farms.

BEAVER DISEASES:

  Beaver can carry diseases like tularemia, and rabies. Beavers may also spread giardia, a protozoan parasite that causes diarrhea or gastrointestinal distress. Other mammals, including humans, can get giardia, otherwise known by the name of Beaver Fever. Giardia often lives in still or brackish water and can be present in people even if symptoms of the disease are not present.

HOW DO I CONTROL BEAVERS? 

Generally the most desired means is removal by trapping. Occasionally shooting can be used. When it comes to trapping, there are both lethal traps, such as connibear style body grip traps, and very large cage-type traps. Foot-hold traps can also be used effectively by a trained beaver removal expert. None of these is really a “do-it-yourself” type of job.  Experience matters when dealing with this large member of the rodent family.

Appearance:

Beavers have eyes that are protected by a transparent membrane that enable them to see while moving under water as not to be blinded by water currents and this large rodent’s nose and ears are shut for protection while swimming as well. Like most rodents, beavers have huge front teeth that serve many uses. The average weight of a healthy adult beaver is often 30 and 60 pounds, in extreme cases, some can weigh as much as 80 pounds. They reach an average length of 3 1/2 to 4 feet. The beaver has a thick, broad, hairless, and stiff tail that is similar in shape to a paddle. Beavers use their tail like a rudder to steer itself in water, and for balance when on land. It also is used to slap the water sending a warning signal when there is danger either from humans or predators. This signal can be felt far off by other beavers, and it serves to warn young beavers well ahead of time to dive for cover or to send them to their lodges. Beavers also have webbed hind feet which makes them great swimmers. Beavers are usually a shade of brown, however, variations in color do occur with an almost-black dark brown being a rarity. They have thick coats that remain water proof, thanks to a scented oil that is secreted from their glands.

Habitat:

Beavers are widely distributed throughout  most of North America except for extremely cold and the extremely dry/hot regions. They are hard workers and are known for constructing dams on streams or rivers or man-made ponds. They usually build dome-like homes in ponds they have engineered. These beaver homes are called lodges and are built from limbs, branches, mud and vegetation they collect. When living in streams they usually dig dens into the banks. They also construct canals to transport food and fallen limbs for their construction needs. These canals help the beaver so they can stay protected in the water and make transportation of building materials and food easier. They are able to build a lodge or dig a den in just hours. Beavers are active all season long even when the water freezes over. A typical beaver lodge contains two dens, one for drying off after entering the lodge by an underwater entrance. The second room is dryer where the family lives and socializes.

Behavior:

These large rodents are clumsy on land but are very graceful in water. Beavers swim with their large, webbed rear feet using their paddle-shaped tails for rudders. Beavers can swim at speeds of up to five miles (eight kilometers) per hour and they can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes at a time without surfacing. Their capability to engineer the landscape is remarkable when not destructive. The dams they build play a major role in sustaining wild ecosystems. Beavers are usually nocturnal but are occasionally active during the day, especially during breeding season. They almost always mate for life and are monogamous animals. A colony of beavers usually contains 6 to 12 individuals – the adult breeding pair, the kits of the year, and kits from the previous year or years.

Diet:

Beavers feed on plants, bark, small twigs and trees – aspen, poplar, birch, maple, willow, cherry, cottonwood and alder. The North American beaver is also fond of water lilies. However, beavers feed on berries and aquatic plants especially cat tails during spring and summer. They have large, sharp incisors that continuously grow, which are used to cut trees and peel bark for eating. The beaver’s front teeth grow throughout their lives, but are worn down by grinding together and cutting trees.

Life Cycle:

 Beavers breed between January and March, and the female produces a litter of one to four young called kits between April and June. The mother beaver nurses the kits until they are weaned at 10 to 12 weeks of age. Kits almost always remain with the adults until they are nearly two years old after which they leave to find mates and begin life anew forming new colonies. Thanks to their size, behavior, and habitat, beavers have few enemies. When on land, they are preyed upon by bears, coyotes, bobcats, cougars, and dogs. However, man remains the greatest enemy of these rodents because of their destructive behavior and sometimes because of their rich fur.

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