Thursday, October 06, 2011

Something to chew on

When you've spent as much time at the dog park as I have, you notice when things have changed. Just like the bee tree that fell, another broken limb caught my eye yesterday.
This tree is next to a popular "swimming beach" close to one of the parking lots, so it sees a lot of traffic. At first I thought some dumb-ass of a dog owner had broken the limb trying to get sticks to throw. (I've seen that happen.)

But then we took a closer look:
Hey, someone tried to cut it down! Wait, no, someone tried to chew it down!

Yes, there's an industrious beaver living at the dog park. Which is a section of a quite large state park, so I shouldn't be that surprised. But I have never seen beaver sign in the park before. I didn't know we had them there.

I had to read up, of course, to find out that beavers do most of their gnawing at night, and they will fell trees for food, not just for building. They eat the tender underbark.
That must be the case here, since there's no running water nearby to dam, unless you count the South Platte River. Which would would make it a very delusional beaver indeed. But I guess it probably lives in the pond and got hungry for bark. Next time I'm there I'll go look for its lodge.

(P.S. I found an article about a very interesting woman who crusades to save beavers in Colorado. To read it, click here.)


  1. wow, I have never seen a beaver eaten tree. it looks kinda cool....
    good pics.

  2. Personally, I'm very happy about your beaver discovery. We had them for 2 years in the pond next to our house, a pond that looks roughly like the one in your picture. I know many people consider them a nuisance, and yes, they are "destructive" to trees, but I loved having them around. Their destruction is only a problem for humans if they manage to block water flow (in or out) that results in damage to someone's home or crops. In my case, and maybe in yours, the only "destruction" is trees being felled, making room for lots of other wildlife and plants and new trees will grow there eventually. We had a family of four, but one summer they all left...I'll never know why because there were still plenty of trees left. Here's where I posted a few pictures:

    I loved to visit them at midnight or so. I would slowly approach the pond and they would always see me, swim directly towards me, and then smack their tails loudly to tell me to "go away!" The smacks were thrilling! And our pond now looks different -- smaller trees surrounding it -- but so much new has grown up in the 2 (?) years they've been gone that I can't say they destroyed anything.
    (sorry for the overly long comment...)

  3. I suppose I would be unhappy if beavers were destroying my carefully tended landscaping, but as noted in the accompanying article (and by Pam), there are options to relocate them or even embrace their building.

    I wish I could see them in action!

  4. We have man made lakes where I live and they have to wrap all the trees along the lake with wire so the beavers don't take off with them!