When you think of rodents, chances are good rats and mice come to mind. But the largest rodent in North America isn’t either of these — it’s the beaver, an aquatic mammal that alters their surroundings to suit their needs. While their ability to build dams, alter the landscape and rearrange areas is impressive, it’s can also be destructive and costly.
Beavers on your property?
Are you having beaver problems? Call Critter Control today at (574) 825-1079 in South Bend and Elkhart,
or (260) 632-5106 in the Fort Wayne area and our trained staff will be there to help with your beaver removal.
What do Beavers Look Like?
When you behold a beaver, you’ll notice the rodent family features. With small, beady eyes and rounded ears like their much smaller cousins, these critters also have front teeth that never stop growing, which means they need to gnaw and chew constantly just like rats, mice, rabbits and squirrels.
Beavers are much larger than other rodents, however. Weighing as much as 50 pounds but usually between 30 and 40 pounds, that weight is spread across a short, squat body that’s two to three feet long. Unlike most other rodents, they’ve got a short, flat and wide tail that’s somewhat paddle shaped to aid in swimming. Their fur ranges from black to brown or even reddish.
Where do Beavers Live?
If your property has low-lying, wooded areas near water, it’s an ideal spot for beavers. Even if it’s not totally ideal, these adaptable critters have the power to totally transform the landscape to suit their needs. Beavers are able to dam streams, rivers and other moving bodies of water to create a wetland environment suitable for their living quarters, called lodges.
In addition to damming waterways, beavers also gather sticks and mud to construct their domed dens, which are equipped with underwater entrances for safety. Occasionally, beavers will burrow into river bank mud to create a den for themselves and their young.
You aren’t likely to encounter a beaver in your home, garage or other indoor property, but outdoors is another story entirely.
What Problems do Beavers Create?
Beavers are the ultimate homebody, preferring to keep to themselves, especially in colder months. But they can cause a lot of property damage by felling trees as a result of their gnawing and chewing habits. And if they dam rivers, culverts or drainage areas, flooding results, leading to further property damage.
A single beaver can bring down a tall — 8 foot or greater — tree in minutes. An entire colony of beavers can completely rebuild a dam in less than a single day after it’s cleared. Because of their industrious habits and potential for property damage, beavers are considered a pest.
Although not typically aggressive toward people or pets, they may act defensively if they feel threatened by a curious person or pet poking around their lodge. Their large, sharp teeth can cause severe injury if cornered and bites almost invariably require treatment to prevent infection. More of a direct concern is their ability to act as a vector for disease. Pests like lice, fleas or ticks can be spread by the presence of beavers. Their droppings in waterways can spread diseases such as giardia – sometimes colloquially known as “beaver fever.”
Identifying a Beaver Problem
Do you notice large, knife-like gashes near the bottoms of trees or other woody vegetation on your property? If so, you might have a budding beaver problem. Landscape changes, felled trees, flooding and the obvious presence of dams or lodges is a sure sign you’ve got a beaver problem. During the warmer months, you may also see the beavers themselves, since they’re so large. While beavers don’t hibernate, they prefer not to go out during cold or inclement weather.
Dealing with a Beaver Problem
In most jurisdictions, it’s illegal to trap beavers because they’re considered fur-bearing animals. In fact, they were once hunted to the brink of extinction. If you’re seeking to deal with a beaver problem on your own, you’ll need to do so in-season or risk major penalties, fines and possible jail time. Trapping beavers, even humanely, is tricky, as traps must be set at the underground lodge entrance to be effective.
It’s also worth noting that it’s illegal to tamper with lodges or dams that are already built. The resultant wetlands are usually considered an asset and a drainage system must be constructed with the assistance of a conservation or wildlife agency.
Therefore, it’s easier and better to reach out to a qualified wildlife control professional for help rather than attempt a DIY beaver control effort.
How Critter Control Can Help
The wildlife experts at Critter Control can safely, humanely and legally help by trapping your nuisance beavers for removal from the area. In addition to being able to place traps at lodge entrances, Critter Control professionals can help make the area undesirable for return or future beaver families looking to move in. Give us a call today at (574) 825-1079 to speak to a Critter Control beaver expert to get help solving your problem.