Friday, July 16, 2010

Dam Maintenance

The beavers have started repairing their dams with a fresh coat of mud, perhaps in response to the recent rains and higher water levels. This evening about a dozen people watched at very close range as an adult repeatedly dove for arm fulls of mud to place on the dam. A boil of bubbles marked the location of the underwater beaver's excavation, and then a line of bubbles marked underwater progress toward the dam. The beaver surfaced just before the dam, with it's head pretty low in the water. That top-heavy load of mud must be pretty hard to swim with!

I noticed that the beaver often closed it's eyes while carrying and placing the mud - perhaps to protect against debris. The technique was pretty simple - the beaver simply pushed up on the dam, using it's chest to bulldoze the mud, and then it's front paws to distribute the load to it's satisfaction.

The first photo shows the load of mud, and the second shows the load being pushed up by the beaver's chest.

No comments: