Skip to main content

Most all wildlife is hard wired to fight when flight is impossible. Beavers are very vulnerable to all predators on land. Too slow to run away and not fast enough to bring those big teeth to bear, mostly when caught on land they run for the water, if the water is too far away they are lunch.  Beaver are chock a block full of tasty fat and humans have been eating them for a long time. They don't believe you are there just to take a picture.

I always seem to see beaver ponds when I get back away from trails and roads a good ways. I just plain like them. The ponds trap sediment that would otherwise get washed away and they make a large area wet. It's so dry here that any thing that keeps the moisture instead instead of sending it downstream to water a lawn in Los Angelas, is good.

The bushes and mud of filled in beaver ponds support a wider variety of animals than a simple creek, through the crucial winter too.

As long as I'm opinionating about wildlife I should give the obligatory "please don't feed the wildlife" spiel. Bears are just out of hibernation here and  real  hungry. Might be a good time to keep the trash in the garage until it's collection day. A fed bear is a dead bear right? Bird feeders too. Soon deer, elk, and pronghorn will begin dropping fawns. I stay as far away from them as I possibly can. A startled fawn might well become food for a predator as soon as I leave. End of lecture.

Ever been bit?


Seen a beaver in the wild?

50%31 votes
22%14 votes
9%6 votes
8%5 votes
8%5 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Reminds me of New Yorker cartoon by Darbyshire (14+ / 0-)

    There's a beaver-like animal biting a guy's leg as he reads a pamphlet titled, "So, You're Being Attacked by an Angry Badger." :)

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:03:02 PM PDT

  •  Last year while fishing in W. Virginia a beaver (20+ / 0-)

    was swimming in the same hole in which I was fishing. For 1 1/2 hours (s)he swam by me numerous times. It was so wonderful I cannot remember if I caught any fish.

    "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

    by hester on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:05:12 PM PDT

    •  If a beaver is repeatedly swimming by you ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, elmo, hester, OldDragon

      If a beaver is repeatedly swimming by you, especially if you are wading, it is time to find another place to fish.  I have no idea why, but river beaver appear to me to be far more aggressive than pond beaver.  They will come out and chatter at me in my canoe, much like a red squirrel will chatter.  They are not saying, Hi, welcome to the neighborhood.  I have cautioned tourists to stay away from them when that is happening - advising them that those things chew through trees, which are considerably harder than their hands and legs are.  Really, people want to pet them.  The Disney affect at work, I suppose, but dumb, dumb, dumb doesn't begin to cover it.  From time to time, one bites someone.  That has got to hurt.  Like any rodent bite, that bite gets treated with the rabies series of injections.  They are not as bad as they used to be, but still no walk in the park.  

      I regularly see spectacularly inappropriate human/wild animal interactions.  I am not sure why the idea that nature is a cuddly nurturing place is so widespread.  You would think that cartoons and movies with friendly wild animals could be seen as just what they are - fiction.  That cow moose with a calf doesn't want to share her baby - and she can enforce her wishes.  I have seen tourists run towards a mother grizzly with two cubs, holding cameras in the air and shouting excitedly.  They got within about 35'.  The Park Service to whom I reported that said, Oh, that's #72, she's a good bear.  Which is good, I suppose, but Holy shit!  It was up around Lake Louise (Canada), so all I had was pepper spray, and I was in my truck.  Nevertheless, I was not looking forward to administering the first aid I thought would soon be necessary.  

  •  Beavers are dispersing this time of year. (14+ / 0-)

    One spring I found one marching resolutely through an upland pine plantation directly *away* from the nearest water.

    High spring water facilitates movement and pioneering of new colony sites.

    Very cool animals. They have a raised pad on their forepaws that they can use to grasp twigs and stuff with nearly as much dexterity as a thumb.

  •  We get lots of black bears here where I live in (13+ / 0-)

    northern Virginia. It isn't unusual to see them wandering around our property two or three times a year. One of the more fun encounters was having this big ol' bear standing on the deck look in the sliding glass door just as I looked out. Both of us sort of went "Ruh-roh!" and he took off for the woods.

    "The President is trying to make it tough on members of Congress. It's just sick." -- John Boehner (R-WATB)

    by OldSoldier99 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:17:21 PM PDT

    •  Well, all I can say is something along the lines (6+ / 0-)

      of maybe the bear sheeite in the woods...... I would have probably needed a change of laundry right then.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:33:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My experience is that bears (8+ / 0-)

        don't shit in the woods. I find bear scat in our driveway, on our dirt road, and on paths in open areas, but never in the woods. Coyotes are the same.

        A lot of deer scat in the woods, though.

        Bears are around, but some years I don't see them. We've lost bird feeders, garbage cans, garbage cans full of dog food (right next to the back door), a bin full of sunflower seeds (right under the bedroom window), and had old logs torn apart for ants, I imagine.

        I've come out the kitchen door at night and caught a bear near the garbage cans about 10 feet away, but mostly saw his butt going away up the hill.

        The best view I've ever gotten was one summer sitting on the porch, a bear came out of the woods, wandered around the front yard for a while, back into the woods, into the driveway, and then left. Our cat was sitting at the top of the porch steps watching the bear too, but didn't seem impressed - I was. It was pretty cool.

        Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

        by badger on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:30:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  all territorial animals try to leave it someplace (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badger, OldSoldier99

          where it will get noticed. Makes it easy to see what species is in the neighborhood.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 08:18:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There was a cinnamon bear, (light phase of black (0+ / 0-)

          bear), that used to frequent a neighborhood north of LA that bordered the Angeles Nat'l Forest. He'd been a fixture for ages, would amble through, look around, amble on. The neighbors thought it was cool, so they just took precautions like not leaving trash and pets where he could get them, and let him be. There were videos of him enjoying one family's backyard spa, no shit. ::grin::

          Anyway, new family moves in and nobody warned them of the neighborhood mascot, so they saw him in their yard and freaked, called Animal Control, who trapped and evicted the critter. The neighborhood was pissed and the new folks were ostracized for screwing up the arrangement.

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
          ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

          by FarWestGirl on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 04:52:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They say black bear are shy and always run away (10+ / 0-)

      They say lots of things. Window glass seems awfully thin,

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:36:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They almost always run away (9+ / 0-)

        except when they don't. There was a guy attacked by a black bear about 20 miles from here (as the crow flies) a few years ago. I've had maybe half a dozen encounters where the bear was close or headed towards me, and they've always taken off at a run.

        The exception was in a campground in Alberta, but even that bear wasn't aggressive - just ate all of my dog's food and then came back at night when we were in the tent. Otherwise, when they cross the hill behind the house - about 50 yards out - they just keep moving and ignore you, even if you yell or whistle.

        Wikipedia has a page on black bear attacks (don't recall the link) and a lot more of them seem to happen in the east, like PA or TN. Some of them involve kids or even babies left unattended on a porch.

        Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

        by badger on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:40:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're shy but quite capable of self defense (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elmo, ban nock, badger, OldSoldier99

          My sister's minister was attacked by a black bear while out for a run with his dog.  It seems the little yapper took off into the roadside brush, making noise about something, only to suddenly give an alarmed yelp and come running back to cower behind its owner.  The dog was right to be concerned, the black bear immediately behind her was not happy.  I understand that repairs required about 120 stitches.  The dog now runs on a leash.

        •  around here the bears end up shot (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badger, OldSoldier99

          by the Department of Wildife. Once they start eating food at houses they always come back and they end up dead. The rangers don't like shooting bears at all.

          Fed bears are the most dangerous too.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:10:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Finally! Saw my first beaver - oh I wanna say Nov (10+ / 0-)

    /Dec last year. Knew we had them. Heard them slapping. Just have never seen one. He/she was sitting on it's haunches on the bank - illuminated in the dying sunlight. I grabbed a flashlight and sure as hell! Got a couple of good looks and turned off the flashlight.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:20:20 PM PDT

  •  I know this seems absurd, but I was (10+ / 0-)

    Attacked for a prolonged period by 3 pelicans who were just unrelenting. Also attacked by a raccoon years ago as well as by a huge alligator mother. I've had an aggressive fox encounter, but I consider that just a cute-counter.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:24:46 PM PDT

    •  Florida sounds intimidating, and now you've got (5+ / 0-)

      big snakes too.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:32:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm on the Alabama border, so the pythons (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1, crose, gerrilea, ban nock

        Are hundreds of miles away until the climate warms, and by that time there could be gators in Ohio.

        “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

        by jeff in nyc on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:17:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The pythons (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          crose, gerrilea, ban nock, jeff in nyc

          Here's hoping they stop breeding and figuring out how to survive in slightly cooler temps.
          I hope it won't be like the stink bugs or the lady bugs that have exploded in population where I live. There was a documentary on those dreadful Cane Toads in Australia with a toxic poison gland defense system.

          •  Ladybugs eat aphids and other garden pests (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gerrilea, ban nock

            They may be a nuisance, but they're a helpful nuisance. Unlike stink bugs.

            I think preying mantises eat stink bugs - we've had a lot fewer stink bugs since a mantis or two moved in.

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 10:24:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The ladybug that is considered a nuisance (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ban nock

              Is actually the Asian lady beetle. The Asian lady beetle and the seven-spotted ladybug were introduced to control aphids, but may be driving the native nine-spotted ladybug into extinction. The nine-spotted was thought extinct until 2006 when it was rediscovered in Virginia. 20 were found on a farm in NY (where it is the state insect) in 2011.

              In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

              by boriscleto on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:07:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Wow! (8+ / 0-)

      I have never been attacked by pelicans. Actually I have never been attacked by anything. I was mobbed by California gulls one Christmas in Oregon--I was feeding leftover turkey. An adult tame raccoon, probably someone's abandoned pet, came around all one summer and would take her evening meal on my lap. I have talked to foxes and brought them around, same with coyotes. I move rattlesnakes off the roads in the evenings because people will run them over on purpose. I have sat so still while fishing that a family of weasels passed under my legs. I have fed crayfish bits of bread while snorkeling at the lake. I don't know what in hell I would do if I encountered an alligator mom. That just takes the cake.

      •  Only one crazy raccoon out of hundreds I've (0+ / 0-)

        Come across was a jerk. The pelicans that attacked me had clearly been fed by tourists in the summer and were likely starving when I showed up in the winter smelling of seafood. I think the dolphins that have scared me just considered me a plaything and a curiosity. The ray and the catfish are just dangerous morons of the water and I don't ascribe any volition to them, nor to sharks. The gator had good reason to be angry with me.

        “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

        by jeff in nyc on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:34:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I forgot marine: yes I've had sharks being (7+ / 0-)

    Very threatening but I never have been bit. I've also had a terrifying (for me) encounter with a bottlenose dolphin. No injuries from them. My worst injuries are from a stingray and a saltwater catfish.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:29:49 PM PDT

  •  Ah, yes, beaver pie... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, gerrilea

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:32:46 PM PDT

    •  Actually they are tasty (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo, ban nock

      In the good old days, meals "up to camp" were competitive affairs where guys brought various fish and game dishes.  So, I've had roast haunch of beaver, prepared with garlic the way one would with roast leg of lamb.  Served with beans and sweet potato, and a reasonably good red wine, it was excellent. Unfortunately, we're reduced to competitive salad making in our dotage.

  •  One of my several occupations... (11+ / 0-)

    Involves guarding and monitoring a sensitive proprietary facility at night. We're located in a highly-populated area.

    My post comprises three buildings, off to the north end of the main campus. I spend a lot of my time walking from building to building.

    The variety of wildlife I encounter in the wee-hours is amazing. It saddens me to think that before the people this was their domain. But our little part of it is private property, with man-made lakes and wetlands, so they've assumed it to be their refuge. Fine by me.

    On a given night, I'll see everything from deer, fox and frog, to geese, owl and bat. My mockingbirds will soon be back to dive bomb me when I wander too close to their nest and I'm looking forward to see if the hawk that last year slept on a guy-wire returns.

    In the past few weeks, I've been presented with a wildlife dilemma. A family of raccoons has made a home inside a large storm drain. They're cute as hell, when I surprise them they waddle off to their drain house single file.

    I reported this and it was met with a shrug. If it's a server room overheating or a door not locking it gets immediate attention. Raccoons, not so much. My fear is that if I press the issue they'll call county animal control and be killed. If I don't do anything, their nest may clog the drain and they'll drown and flood a couple of acres of property in the process.

    Wildlife management ain't in my job description. I prefer simple observation.

    •  you can get a private company to use have a heart (7+ / 0-)

      traps and release them.

      But that might well be sure death anyway. Being released into the territory of another seldom ends well.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:48:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hands like eyes (4+ / 0-)

      Raccoons have very sophisticated hands that they use almost like eyes. They can find tiny bits of food in a river bed in the dark of night.
      Maybe someone will take your raccoon family to a river in the woods.

    •  I would leave them alone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock

      Raccoons build nests, not dams.  Leaves and twigs will wash out of the pipe.  I would be very surprised if the mama coon doesn't know that pipe periodically carries water and plans to manage the situation when it does.  

      There are skunks and raccoons all around.  As a young man, I was annoyed by a boar coon that got into a fight with my dog - the vet bills were expensive among other things.  So, I live trapped (it's quite simple) and moved him.  He was replaced by three adolescent coons, who were far worse for about a year until one of them drove the others away and learned the rules.  Wildlife live all around us, interacting with us in ways that keep them safe even if we are totally unaware of their presence.  Taking one of the old ones out leaves a niche for some adolescent to occupy, and you know what adolescents do.  Better to live cooperatively, if you have the choice.

      I have a doe that lives near me, and I am out all the time so she is undoubtedly aware of me.  At least once every spring, she appears with one or two fawns along the edge of some brush.  I haven't the slightest doubt she is showing them to me.  She came out behind me a couple of years ago to protest my Fall turkey hunt, snorting and pawing.  It was remarkable, and I went somewhere else.  I am sure she knows she is safe with me because deer hunters in that area never see her.  It is tempting to anthropomorphize, but I think she is just acting on what she sees as the rules.  I do not know how territorial eastern whitetail does are, but she appears to be the dominant doe here, and she leaves my garden alone.  That is good enough for me.

  •  Word has it the man died from the attack. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, gerrilea

    Severed an artery in his leg.


    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:39:46 PM PDT

  •  Given my line of work, I have had more (12+ / 0-)

    opportunities to interact with wildlife out in the high wild of the intermountain west over the last 40 years than I care to remember, much less recount.  I have learned a lot of things as a result of my and others' encounters, though, like:
    - Never stomp your foot and yell at a buck black tail deer that doesn't want to seem to run away during the rut unless you are prepared to either bring a pocket knife to an antler fight or find a tree to climb.
    - if you see a moose, leave the area or find a tree to climb.
    - if you see a bear cub, leave the area quietly and very very attentively; don't bother with finding a tree to climb 'cause it's not a solution.
    - Badgers are neither placid nor friendly and will rather aggressively object to your presence.
    - If you encounter a weasel kicking butt on a much larger bunny rabbit, do not intervene for the sake of the poor little bunny rabbit unless you are wearing one of those Tony Stark "Ironman" suits.
    - Walk slowly through huckleberry or other low brush patches.  It doesn't matter whether the thing you almost stepped on is a blue grouse or a hunkered-down older fawn; your heart rate and adrenaline level will not ramp back down to normal until the next day.
    - campground deer don't like to be petted, Columbia ground squirrels are meth-addicted wharf rats with a better haberdasher, and grey jays (aka 'camp robbers') need to an honest line of work...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:47:42 PM PDT

  •  My husband's uncle hit a moose headon in a semi. (10+ / 0-)

    The moose broke off both antlers, shook its head, gave him a look, and walked off.

    The truck went nowhere. It had moose antlers embedded in the engine block.

    The radiator was a conversation piece in his family room for years afterwards.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:58:45 PM PDT

  •  The beaver (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, Over the Edge, ban nock

    is a particularly ill-tempered giant rat.

    Cute, though.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:59:10 PM PDT

  •  In North America, I've seen... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, ban nock, elmo

    ... lots of black bears, elk, deer, antelope, moose, and alligators in the wild and fairly close up, a few Bighorn sheep and bobcats at a distance, one lynx through binoculars, one cougar about 100 yards away, a Gila monster up close, a few wild mustangs, and tons (no hyperbole) of raccoons, possums and wild pigs.

    I never tried feeding any or them.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:11:47 PM PDT

  •  I went swimming in a pond in Concord, and a beaver (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, libnewsie, ban nock, elmo

    swam over and crossed paths with me.  The beaver didn't seem one bit afraid of me.  Wicked cute.

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:27:58 PM PDT

  •  was once photographing a seal - got too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, elmo

    "up close and personal" (i ALWAYS forget how far my lens backs up my subject - something i shoulda remembered when i was taking a full on picture of the budwiser clydesdales galloping toward me - moved the camera and JUST cleared in time not to be a greasy spot!)

    well, the seal that was languidly sleeping took offense, grabbed the strap on my camera and tried to take it back into the surf with him. he was annoyed and i learned quickly to use a telephoto lens if i wanted a close view!

    dumb, i was.  i don't do that any more.

    my digital videocam has a 70x zoom - they get privacy while i get my "closeup).

    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

    by edrie on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:53:14 AM PDT

  •  A quarter century ago (16+ / 0-)

    The summer we were first here on the farm I thought that the pond was bigger than I remembered from the year before.  We bought the place in December, so everything that first spring was new. (Most exciting time of my whole life - every day was like unwrapping presents, all day long.)

    Anyway, a few weeks went by, and  I was convinced the pond was getting larger, so I walked around it.  And to my intense delight, it was clear we had a new beaver colony building. And building, and building, and building until eventually they had flooded a valley area of about 15 acres.  They raised the height of the water in this area more than six feet.

    At that height the water was starting to pour across the causeway that is our only access to farm, so something had to be done.

    I got a beaver dam diversion permit from NYS DEC.  The permitted device is essentially a large (10") diameter, long (50')  black corrugated plastic pipe that is run through the dam underwater. It allows humans to regulate the height of the impoundment.  The pipe is anchored to the bottom on the upstream side, and the upstream tip is bent upwards and tied to a post at the maximum height you want the water to reach.  The theory is that if the pipe is long enough the beavers won't make a connection between  the now-fixed water level and the pipe's intake point.  So they won't try to disrupt it.

    Because the dam was based on the embankment that carries our road access, it has an old concrete culvert in it about 8 feet in diameter and about 12 feet long.  The culvert has two wooden interior braces running at right angles to the culvert  and extending about one-third of the way down from the roof of the culvert. Since the culvert was the upper dam of the beavers' magnificent undertakings, both the up and down stream areas had high water, high enough so that the bottom edge of the downstream brace was under water.

    Fishing the unwieldy, floating pipe through the culvert   was a very frustrating, though comical, nightmare.  I was wearing my bib neoprene waders and finally decided that what I needed to do to get the damn pipe through was duck under the downstream brace in the culvert and pop up into  the airspace inside to unsnag the pipe and get it pulled through.  Easy peasy, I figured.

    Now, here's the thing: I am a petite woman, not heavy at all. But in those days Cabella's didn't sell ladies waders, just smaller sized men's ones. So the fit, intended for a straighter male shape, was a tad snug about the hips, too snug to comfortably go over jeans.  I usually just wore underpants and a turtleneck under them.

    So, I hop in the water, wade up the culvert on the downstream side, take a deep breath, duck under the brace and pop up inside the airspace under the roadway. No problem, I flick on my headlamp, waddle up against the current to the other side, snag the stuck end of the stupid pipe and drag it along.  Then I ducked under the downstream brace again and I'm out and clear.  And feeling pretty proud of myself for being such a brave, resourceful, girl.

    I get up on the bank, where my neighbor is standing watching this foolishness. He had a beaver destruction permit from NYS DEC, i.e. permission to shoot them if my diversion plan didn't work and the beavers continued to flood the valley as far upstream as his corn field.  But I saved the day for the beavers!  Their world would be safe!

    Then I felt something moving inside the bib of the waders on my chest; then around my waist, and to my horror something came out on the cut-away side under my arm and fell off and landed in the tall grass. And then I became aware that there were more, still inside, something was starting to wiggle downwards.  My cold hands had trouble unsnapping the big plastic buckles to get the straps loose. I was hopping around shreiking like a mad woman.  Finally I got the front of the bib down and what fell out were about a dozen 5 to 6 inch live, wriggling, baby water snakes!  Apparently they had been lazing around inside the culvert and in my duck under and pop up I had inadvertently scooped them up inside my waders. And there were still more crawling around my back

    I stumbled around trying to yank the waders off without stepping on the snakes falling out of them. In my frantic hysteria to get away from them I forgot  that I had my wading boots on over the feet of the waders. So I ended up in my underwear with my now- inside out waders floppng around on the ground but still attached to my feet by the laced-up boots with dazed snakes crawling all about on the ground.  My Rhodesian Ridgeback dog is leaping around, barking frantically at the snakes. My neighbor laughed until he was gasping for breath

    Fortunately, I wasn't bitten, so all was well, though I'm sad to say I stepped on one of the little critters.

    And the water diversion device worked well enough. Though it needed regular in-water maintenance because the beavers finally understood that it was the reason the water stopped rising. They figured out how to untether it from the anchors on the bottom and float it, which reduced its carrying capacity and the water would start to rise again.  Luckily I could do that repair all on the upstream side, because I was never, ever, going in the culvert again.

    The beavers stayed nearly three years until they had eaten every twig of trees in the area.  The last summer I even brought them fresh branches from my logging to supplement what they could get by their pond.  I went to sleep most nights to the sound of them playing and slapping in the water.

    They made a spectacular, and never repeated, increase in wildlife, particularly migrating birds.  Those first years I saw 120+ species; most years lately, I'm lucky if I reach 90. And they flooded the area deeply enough to make a habitat for otters and mink.

    They've been gone now for more two decades, and their dams have worn away. I still have the wetlands and the peepers are calling out there tonight (only second night so far this year). I have planted (and still do every spring) many trees on the edges of the wetland. Perhaps I'll live long enough for them to grow into beaver chow and can once more welcome the beavers.

    The pipe, by the why, is still in place in the culvert, just in case . No way I'm ever doing that again.

    So, yes, I've seen beavers in the wild. And they've seen me, too, nearly nekkid and howling and staggering around.

    And the water snakes, they're still here of course, only they're grown much larger by now.  There's huge six-footer who lives down in my spring. She always gives me a wide berth when I go in there every May to set up my irrigation pumps. I always think of the snakes-in-my-waders incident when I see her, I wonder if she remembers, too.


  •  I live in the suburbs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, Tinfoil Hat, elmo

    I just assume that the moment I step into the woods something will try to eat me.

    Kind of like how my rural in-laws assume they'll be mugged the moment they hit the city limits.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 05:49:23 AM PDT

  •  No beavers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, OldDragon

    but our Boston terrier once tried to hump a raccoon. Does that count?

    True story. My husband left the garage door open one night and a raccoon got in. It crawled up through an opening in the garage ceiling into the attic before morning. The next night, when it emerged, it couldn't get outside, the garage door being closed. So it made a racket, urinated on our minivan and ruined the finish, engaged in general mayhem, and returned to the attic.

    The next morning, I realized what was going on, scolded my husband for not closing the garage door, and it open that night. I figured the critter would just leave when night fell. I was wrong: apparently it like its new party quarters.

    A few nights later, I went out to get something in the garage. I opened up the door, and out walked the raccoon, right at me. I backed up slowly. Just at this moment, our Boston terrier, Elmo, came around the corner. He took one look at the raccoon and it was love at first sight! Faster than I could react, he ran for the raccoon and as it turned, he grasped it from the rear and...well, you know.

    I yelled "no! Elmo! no!" The raccoon broke away and ran like the dickens, straight up the side of our 6 foot tall board fence.

    We were very lucky. Elmo had not a scratch on him. We figured that the raccoon must have reminded him of some large stuffed animals that our daughter used to have when she was little. The was one, a large kangaroo, that was Elmo's particular...ahem..girlfriend.

    Elmo died three weeks ago, just shy of 15 years old. We miss him terribly. Rest in peace, Elmo, you silly raccoon lover.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site