Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finishing the Food Cache

Warmer weather in the past week has opened up most of Maxwell Lake again, and the beaver colony is really working hard to get their lodge and food cache in top shape for the winter. I've given them a full pickup load of aspen each of the last 3 evenings. Normally it takes them 2-3 days to float that much aspen down to the lodge but lately they've been topping thier own accomplishments. Their rate of food removal has increased to a pickup load a day. All of the 11 beavers help build the food cache but the kits can't take larger branches - only the adults can handle those.

So besides the incredible work capacity of these amazing animals there's another marvel. How do they manage to cram 24 pickup loads of aspen branches into a compact pile that seems to take up no more room on the surface than a single pickup load of loose branches? Of course 11 beavers working so hard must need a lot of food, so it's not all in the winter food pile. But a lot of it is. Someday I want to go snorkeling around one of these food caches in the late fall. I'll bet there's an interesting sight to see.

By the way, I've been giving the beavers some pretty large logs just to see what they can handle. I don't know if they might cut some of these into smaller pieces or take them as they are, but logs of 8" diameter and about 8' long have disappeared. That's a pretty fair weight for me to lift, and I'm over 200 lbs. Even considering the log is floating in the water, for a 45 lb beaver to wrestle it with no problem demonstrates awesome strength.

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