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Beavers

The beaver (Castor canadensis) is Canada’s largest rodent and the second largest rodent in the world. Rodents are mammals with continuously growing incisor front teeth, these teeth are essential for a beaver’s life in gauging trees. Beavers are herbaceous mammals, are primarily nocturnal and live a semi aquatic life. Beavers spend their days sleeping and maintaining the lodge while staying hard at work throughout the night. Beavers build lodges as homes, these lodges are mainly built from sticks, small rocks and mud. A beaver lodge is built in the middle of a pond with two underwater entrances. This helps control predators and regulate the temperature within the inside of the lodge.
Beavers love love, they mate for life and are very loyal to their families thus making them very territorial animals. So why do beavers have giant flat tails? Well its to alert danger, by slapping their tails against the water it tells other family members to take cover. This can be anything from other larger animals such as coyotes, birds of prey and even humans.

Why are beavers important?

Beavers are considered to be ecosystem engineers of the forest. They modify and continuously adjust their surrounding habitat to stay safe and warm. Beavers spend their lives constructing dams. These dams are essential for a beaver’s life while also creating life for other organisms. When a beaver builds a dam, it ensures they have water to survive and build their lodge in a certain location while at the same time the dam floods outlying areas creating new wetlands. These newly created wetlands give life to frogs, salamanders, fish, birds and other mammals.

Make sure you keep an eye out while exploring the park, you could come across some pretty neat stuff and maybe if you’re lucky, see a beaver during daylight hours.

Beavers and Trails

Within the park, we have a LOT of beaver activity. A long time ago, before we took ownership of the property, a network of logging roads and ATV trails were built throughout the park. Many of them go through wetland areas and culverts have had to be installed to maintain waterflow. However, a culvert is like a beaver attractant. Anytime beavers hear water flowing they have an instinct to dam it up.

This can sometimes cause problems for our roads and trails. If I beaver decides to create a dam downstream from a trail, we end up with a completely flooded trail! And beavers work very fast, sometimes transforming an area overnight. 

To try and work with the beavers, we have started installing fences in the water surrounding the culverts to prevent the  beavers from plugging them up with sticks. With the fences, the culverts remain clear and the beavers are free to build their dam further away, still allowing the culvert to drain properly. 

Fun Fact:

Their lips can close behind their front teeth so that they can gnaw underwater and keep water and splinters out of their mouths.
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