Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beaver Slap, Beaver Hole

Lars was out in the northern end of Delaney Complex/Stow on March 17th. Because the trail was under water due to recent flooding, I was cutting across the slope at water's edge. I surprised a beaver about 10 feet up on land. He jumped back in, then circled around several times to check me out. He gave me a loud tail slap three times, trying to chase me off. See the last few seconds of the 30 second video.

After he jumped in, I found (curiously) that he had been clearing a small area of forest duff. See the two photos. My glove is 9.5 inches in length. He scraped it down to dirt. I wondered if he was preparing the spot to build a scent pile, but three visits back to the site during this past week reveal no further disturbances. And why would he scrape it down to then build it up?

What was he up to? Lars


  1. Gosh, I don't know, but assuming it was the beaver that did this, my guess would be foraging, not scenting, behavior. For some kind of root, bulb, or false truffle? Interesting finding, and cool video.

  2. It seemed to me that the beaver was the culprit. He leapt up from that spot as I approached. Also, you get the sense from the first photo that the top of this mark could be made with the sweep of his tail, and the bottom part bears prints of his feet. The first photo is taken as if your back is to the water.

    Very curious.

  3. Trying to start digging a canal to better logging habitat, in order to facilitate transport? Doesn't seem to be the right season for that, though, and I would imagine there would already be a worn trail between the pond and those desired trees. I can't think of anything else. Sorry.

  4. Perhaps the beaver was flooded out of his usual hideouts, and he was trying to create some sort of temporary refuge until the water subsided?

    The active beaver lodges I visited at Delaney were 99% submerged this last week due to the flooding. I can't imagine there are many available bank holes along the new water line that lead to shelter with an air space. It must be a stressful time to be a semi-aquatic mammal around here.

  5. I've seen holes that beavers dig, often getting down to roots at this time of year, that they gnaw. I've also seen beavers nose around for acorns in the fall. Maybe they can get squirrely! I like the idea of their going after truffles. However, I am seeing shallow holes this spring, very close to the lodge, just on the shore, and can't fathom what they could be munching.

    Bob Arnebeck

  6. Could they be using the mud for lodge repair work - or for piling on their suddenly numerous scent mounds?