Whittling for a Cause

During one of my kayak outings last week, a juvenile beaver left the lodge, swam past me, and followed the shoreline for about 30 yards, before heading straight to the shore. I could not see what he was doing, or exactly where he went. After about 10-15 minutes, he returned to the lodge. This pattern continued several times, so I decided that I would follow him the next time he did this. Within a few minutes, here he comes, swimming past me and heading up the shoreline. So, I turned the kayak around and quietly paddled up to the area where I last saw him head towards the shore. After a couple of minutes, I found Junior, working away at felling a tree. As I watched, he would stand on his back legs and vigorously gnaw away at the tree trunk. Here are a couple of images I was able to make of the action. Note that there was no clear shot … I was forced to manually focus and shoot through the cover of some trees and shrubs that are beginning to leaf out:

Juvenile American Beaver gnaws a tree trunk

Juvenile American Beaver gnaws a tree trunk


Beavers’ teeth constantly grow at a rapid rate. Thus, they need to constantly gnaw at trees or limbs, in order to keep their teeth worn down to a manageable level. After Junior was done at the tree, he cut down a small sprout growing at the water’s edge and carried it back to the lodge:

Juvenile American Beaver carrying a tree sprout back to the lodge


After observing this behavior, I waited for the beaver activity around the lodge to subside, then grabbed the trail cam that I had mounted close to the lodge and moved it to another tree that was close to the one being felled by Junior. I’ll leave it there for a while and then pick it up to see what action I captured!



Posted in Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak
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