Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beaver Update

I contacted Eric Orff, a wildlife biologist who is retired from NH Fish and Game, about the dead beaver that I posted about yesterday. Eric is a well-known authority on beaver, among other wildlife, so I knew he would set me straight.

Here is what he said about the dead beaver with lots of notches in its tail,
"That is just usual beaver on beaver chewing. Pretty common. Plus lots of scars likely under the fur if it were skinned out. Being a beaver is a hard lot. Beaver are very territorial and with the high beaver population there is a lot of fighting among beavers. There is little unoccupied territory for a young beaver to move into. Since April is the big dispersal month, death from territorial fights is not uncommon." 
Eric recommends having a few beaver trapped each year to maintain a healthy, and not overpopulated beaver population. Eric also posts a blog at New Hampshire Nature Notes.

Beaver have huge incisors that they use to gnaw down huge trees. Clearly they also use those massive teeth to bite each other. If you look at the photo that I posted yesterday you can now envision two big teeth marks among the smaller ones. This beaver was in some serious fights.


  1. Thanks Ellen for posting this follow-up information!


  2. Thanks John - glad you appreciate the information. This beaver must have been in many fights given all the notches and nips in its tail. I would love to spend a night out watching beavers gnawing on trees, repairing their dam, etc - now I have to add fighting to that list of activities!