Monday, June 28, 2010

A Beaver to Touch

I'm always amazed by some of the beaver behaviours I see. Beavers like to eat their supper in peace and quiet, and shallow water they can put their back feet down in is always a good choice. That lets the beaver use it's front paws to manipulate the food item. But what to do when supper is in a small shallow pond with people walking by? Simple - take your willow branch under the boardwalk. This young beaver figured out of sight was out of danger. It wasn't just hiding under the boardwalk - it was quite happily munching. And it didn't stop even when I stood on the boards it was hiding under. I'm sure it knew I was there. After several minutes of being amazed at this, I couldn't resist putting my finger down between the boards to touch the beaver on the back, just to see what would happen. Nothing - beaver simply kept on with the meal. Now how often can one claim to have touched a wild beaver? That's a first for me!

When the beaver was finished it came out from under the boardwalk, saw me, and promptly dove. Not for long though. It swam alongside the boardwalk for about 15 m and then came up again underneath. This must have been a routine, because there was another willow branch already there, and the dinner continued. Two other people came by and we all marvelled at the beaver beneath our feet. The first photo shows the original willow branch just disappearing under the boardwalk, and the second shows the beaver's rich chocolate fur between the boards. Click the photo to see a closer view.

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