The not-so-secret life of beavers


There are definitely beavers at the McDonald Sports Park in Waverly! First, we pretended to be beavers (and coyotes) as part of a predator-prey game lead by one of our hosts, Amy Marsters. It’s tricky being either one! Then Amy shared a whole bunch of cool specimens with us… a beaver pelt, foot, and skull, and a coyote pelt. The beaver pelt had a wonderful layer of very soft fur close to the skin, which does an excellent job of keeping beavers warm through the winter. Then we went on a short walk to the end of the lake where a beaver had built a dam. Butch Galvez, our other host, described some of the ingenious techniques beavers use in their dam engineering, including placing larger sticks underwater, at an angle, to prop up dams. Beavers must gather the food they need before winter, and so are busy during fall evenings felling trees and shrubs, and gathering them into food piles. We then went to another part of the lake with fresh beaver activity – we saw many cut down young trees with beaver chew marks on them, and even big wood chips on the ground! Butch explained some more about beaver food preferences (mmm… ash), and how they make use of different parts of a tree (some for eating, some for building).

We didn’t see any live beavers that day, but we saw tons of evidence of beavers. Butch told us the beavers there are often active after dark… and he went back and got some night-vision photos to prove it! Check out our photo gallery from this field trip to see our busy beaver at work.