What Am I Looking At?

Beavers used to live here. Can you find the evidence they left behind?

Beavers donít live here anymore: if you look at the trees, you can see that these are very old markings, not fresh. Beaver population has been on the decline. It is estimated that there are only 10-15 million beavers left, but at one point the population was as high as 90 million. Hunting and habitat destruction are part of the reasons for their decline.

This is a beaver dam like the one that would have been on the Batson when beavers lived here. Beavers choose to livein the riparian zone, the area between land and a river or stream. These zones are very important for their soil conservation and their diverse habitats.

Did You Know?

  • A beaver is the second largest rodent in the world, behind the capybara. They can be between 40-60 pounds and 3-4 feet long.
  • Beavers live near the water because they have short legs, and aren't fast on land.
  • They have webbed feet so they can swim very quickly in the water.
  • They use their flat tail as a rudder to help them steer underwater.
  • Their teeth are orange, and like all rodents (rabbits, squirrels and rats) are constantly growing. Gnawing on wood keeps them from growing into their brain!
  • Their teeth can grow as much as 4 FEET per year!
  • A beaver can chew through a 5 inch tree in 3 minutes.
  • A beaver can hold its breath underwater for 15 minutes!
  • Beavers have a clear eyelid that makes it possible for them to see and protect their eyes underwater.

Beaver Tracks
Courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

What's Next?

What other things do you notice about the trees? Are there other flaws on the trunks of the trees in these woods?