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God made the wild animals according to their kinds ... And God saw that it was good. -- Genesis 1:25 (NIV)

Beaver Den

Beaver den, again (162KB)Beaver den (172KB)Towne Pond has a beaver or possibly a beaver family. Pictures of the beaver den are on the left and right. Its size above water is about 12 (L) x 7 (W) x 5 (H) feet. Like all beaver dens, the access hole is under water. Beavers are nocturnal and most commonly seen at dusk swimming across the pond. (If I had a telescopic lens, maybe I could get a picture of the beaver.) Unlike river otters, beavers steadily swim with their head above water. At night if one hears certain sounds (like a human walking around a wooden deck), it makes a surprisingly loud splash with its tail in order to declare its territory. When I first heard the loud ker-plunk sound, I thought of a 10-pound bowling ball falling out of a tree into the water.

Beaver Dam

Pond overflow pipe with beaver-proof fencing (145KB)Beaver-proof fencing viewed from the pond (141KB)Towne Pond has one exit for water -- an overflow pipe that is 3 feet in diameter. This vertical pipe turns 90 degrees and passes through an earthen dam. The stream that starts at the exit of the pipe is a tributary to Fish Brook in Boxford. The beaver has repeatedly dammed up the overflow pipe with branches, pond vegetation, and mud. For years on a weekly basis, the owner of the property that includes the overflow pipe unclogged the beaver dam. Finally, the owner hired a company to install "beaver-proof" fencing around the exit pipe. The photo on the left shows the exit pipe and surrounding fencing. A grate that is sometimes used over the pipe opening is on edge, tilted toward the camera. The photo on the right is a view of the same scene from the pond. This fencing is second generation and the beaver still packs mud and sticks against the fencing to stop the water flow.

Beaver Trails

Beaver trail through the water lilies (154KB)Interestingly, the beaver has formed trails through the lily pads. All of the trails originate from the beaver den. One trail goes from the den to the dam. Other trails head for nearby corners of the pond. The beaver may have actually uprooted the lily pads along his trails because the pond seems to be deeper on the trails.


Wood Cutting

Tree cut down by beaver (63KB)Beaver sculpture (103KB)Of course, beavers cut down hardwood, eat the bark, and use branches for dens and dams. A fresh example in my yard is shown on the left. Eventually, the beaver took all of the tree branches and left only the trunk. I found some of the smaller branches near my dock, stripped of bark. The image on the right, which I call beaver sculpture, is evidence of various approaches by the beaver to cut down a tree. Curiously, none of the chipping looks fresh, so this job apparently fell off the beaver's to-do list. 

Beaver Grave Yard

Beaver bones (158KB)Actually, these are not beaver bones. I found this scene in the marsh area of the pond. The branches are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The ends of the branches were all clearly chewed by a beaver.



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