Friday, April 1, 2011

How much wood does a woodchuck chuck?

I don't have a clue!!  But I will tell you, a beaver can tear up some wood!  We have had a pond since we built our house 12 years ago.

(You can vaguely see the's really hard to see it through all of the green! :)

Over the years it has grown.  And it's probably still not as big as my husband would like it to be.  But it seems like every year or so we get a beaver.  If you have never had one, be glad!  They make such a mess!!  I will never forget the first year we lived in our home.  We went out and bought all kinds of new trees to plant; Weeping Willows, Bradford Pears, Apple Trees...and several other kinds.  A few weeks later we get up to find that ALL of our trees had been cut down and were neatly placed in the spillway of the pond.

It wasn't long before the beaver moved on to bigger and better trees.  Trees that would take out a power line or building if the beaver didn't land it just right! Now, just in case you aren't familiar with's a little lesson for you.

(Photo courtesy of

Adult beavers can weigh as much as 40lbs.  They move pretty slow on land, but are excellent swimmers.  They can stay under water for as long as 15 minutes.  When they are startled or frightened they will dive under water while slapping their tail against the water.  Which sends a warning sign to other beavers in the area.  It can be heard for miles, above and below water!  The poor critters have poor eyesight, but excellent hearing, sense of smell and touch.  Beavers have 2 large incisors that they use for gnawing down trees.  Those 2 teeth can grow up to 4 feet in a year!  That's why they have to gnaw down trees constantly.  One pair of beavers can take down as many as 400 trees in one year!

   (Photo courtesy of

Beavers are really neat animals, but extremely destructive.  I know they serve their purpose in this world, but they sure are messy!  Like I said before, we get one (or sometimes a family) at least every other year.  And this year was no exception.  This time he's a little fella.  But it won't be long and he'll find a mate, then they'll have little baby beavers and we'll have anywhere from 3-6 beavers in our little bitty pond!  And the babies stay with mama and daddy beaver until they are as old as 2!  So, while it makes for fun watching him swim back and forth.  And it's even an opportunity to learn about beavers (there may be a lapbook in the very near future!), they are such a pain to clean up after!

In our state it isn't illegal to trap or kill them.  But I really hate to do either.  Hopefully he'll move on peacefully.  


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