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Beavers are nocturnal, semi aquatic rodents. In fact, they are the largest North American rodent. They have been featured in several movies, and are renowned for their ability to fell trees and build large dams and lodges. They inhabit the waterways of every North American state and Canadian province. While they do serve a purpose in the ecology of our state, uncontrolled beaver populations on private lands can result in extensive property damage and potential injury as landscaping features are damaged.

 

Beavers in Missouri

Beavers occur throughout the state of Missouri near streams and wetlands. Though they often build dams in regions farther to the west and north, in Missouri they more often construct a den in a high bank. This is due to fast streams with fluctuating currents. However, they will instinctively fell trees.

 

Beaver Tail

Beaver Tail

Webbed hind feet

Webbed hind feet

Physical Features of North American Beavers

Beavers are a large furred rodent with webbed hind feet and a flattened, almost hairless tail. They have blunt heads, short necks, and stout bodies. An adult’s total length ranges from 34-54 inches, and they can weigh between 26 and over 100 pounds.

 

Diet

Beavers eat a mixture of woody and non-woody vegetation, dependent on season. In summer, non-woody foods including corn, pond lilies, watercress and other herbs are eaten. In winter, beavers eat the bark and twigs of trees and woody vines. In spring and fall, their diet is a mixture of all of the above.

 

 

Habitat

In Missouri, beavers live statewide along waterways, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. They build dens in high banks or in the middle of dams made from woody materials. The entrances are always underwater.

 

Beaver kits

Beaver kits

Breeding and Social Structure

Beavers are usually nocturnal, but they may come out during the daytime, especially in the fall. They live in colonies that consist of an adult male and female, along with their yearlings and new kits. A single litter of 3-4 kits is born between April and June. They are weaned after about 6 weeks, but stay with the colony for about 2 years before venturing out to form their own family group.

 

Fun Facts

  • “Beaver” comes from an Old English word related to the German word biber, meaning “brown.”
  • There are two species of beaver: the North American beaver and the European or Eurasian beaver.
  • Beavers can remain underwater for an impressive 15 minutes at a time.
  • Beavers waterproof their thick fur coats with castoreum, an oily secretion from their scent glands.
  • Beavers are the second largest rodent in the world, after the capybara.
  • Beavers can live up to 24 years in the wild.
Beaver chewed bark

Beaver chewed bark

Beavers cut trees down in a pointed, chewed pattern

Beavers cut trees down in a pointed, chewed pattern

Signs of  Beavers

  • Dams that flood bridges, roads, and other areas
  • Large holes dug into river banks and lake shores
  • Trees cut down in a pointed, chewed pattern
  • Chewed bark
  • Sawdust-like droppings
  • “Gunshot” sounds on water as beavers slap water with their tails to alert one another to danger

 

 

Risks Associated with Beavers

Beavers are known to carry giargia lamblia, an intestinal parasite that causes “Beaver Fever.” They can also carry nematodes, trematodes, and coccidians. It is important to be careful around beaver droppings, and wash your hands well if you come into contact with them.

 

Nuisance Beaver Removal

Nuisance Beaver Removal

Probably the largest area of concern with beavers is the potential for widespread damage to large trees and landscaping, which may result in injuries if not properly remedied. Families of beavers can wreak havoc on your property, and they are very territorial once established in an area. That is why it is so important to contact Adair’s Animal Nuisance Trapping for nuisance beaver removal.  Adair’s Animals professional trappers can remove nuisance beavers at any time of year, however we offer a beaver maintenance program to trap nuisance beavers during the winter months when fewer lakeside activities will be interrupted. Our experienced team of trappers will evict these damage-causing rodents from your property, beaver proof your shoreline, remove unstable trees to minimize danger to people and pets, and help prevent further damage.

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