A month or so ago along a small stream about four miles up from the river, I encountered some beaver activity; several dams across the stream with nice ponds and one large lodge all ready for winter. Not far from the upper pond the beavers had fallen a fairly good sized tree and carried all of it away to stock their winter larder… except for this piece which was much shorter than all the rest of the pieces. Because of it’s size and shape I perceived it to be their football and since the season was over and they had obviously discarded it I decided it would be OK to take it home with me, although it added nearly 20 pounds to my pack.
This comparison illustrates why I perceived it to be a football:
On top of the people’s football you can see four front teeth that I had extracted several years ago from a beaver down by the river after realizing that he had no further use for them. I thought they might be interesting for anyone who has not seen the size of a beaver’s front “choppers”.
I didn’t realize they had such a long root system for those teeth. It’s amazing how good they are at logging. In the BC Okanagan many years ago, a beaver pretty much decimated a pear orchard.What did the beaver know or care that they were fruit trees? In cases like that they can be a nuisance.
On a hunch I checked, and sure enough – just like a squirrel or prairie dog, their teeth keep growing and they have to gnaw to keep them trimmed. And now I know about the “other” Oregon mascot. All I knew about was the Duck, which seemed a little strange for an Oregon mascot. Just so you know, the most-loved chain of gas stations/convenience stores in Texas is called Buc-ees. And yes, the symbol is a beaver. ;)
I’m somewhat of a fan of the Oregon Ducks: I love the “quack attack”. The Oregon State Beavers did pretty well this year too. Living this close we get some sports coverage from there. Remember the toothpaste commercials for “Bucky Beaver”? I wonder if they inspired the Texas stores? Pretty popular commercials.
Cracks me up! We have a lot of Beaver who live near us along the Rio Grande, with much evidence of their chewing – but have never seen this kind of evidence of their sporting behavior : ) Like Shoreacres said, those teeth look like they were starting to curl back for lack of chewing. Bet that Beaver was elderly. In a book I saw an artist’s rendition of a Beaver swimming underwater carrying a rock for its dam in its front paws – able to do that because it has the tail and back legs for swimming … And our high desert Rio Beavers build their lodges in the side of the bank, rarely in the middle of the river.
Yes, I think it was an old beaver, but the cutting edges of the teeth all lined up properly and all four were very sharp. I really couldn’t tell what caused his demise.
They build lodges along the big rivers here too when they can find places that don’t have many visitors and lots of willows on the banks. In the mile stretch of the Clark Fork below my house there is nearly always a lodge of some sort, but they all wash out during the high water of spring run-off.
Awesome! Having been a former resident of Oregon, I appreciate the comparison. ;-) I can honestly say I’ve never seen beaver choppers….WOW! I’ve seen their dams and the damage their chomping does to trees, but never their teeth. Amazing.
Cool shots Terry…I was fishing at a NWR near my home not long ago it was dark I was sitting in a lawn chair when what I thought was a German Shepard walked by us I asked who brought the dog and the others laughed telling me it was a beaver. You never realize the size until you see one out of water !!
It’s the real stuff! I have a hiking staff that a beaver made too. I thought it was funny at first, then worthless because it was too heavy and made of willow and soft but I kept it. It has dried and become very light, yet it is thick enough to be very strong and I use it a lot!