Montana Outdoors

January 17, 2013

For Oregon State fans…

Filed under: Beaver, Humor, Winter — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 9:29 pm

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.

Beaver's football

This comparison illustrates why I perceived it to be a football:

Beaver's 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”.

Beaver's football


  1. Photographer and dentist (or rodentist).

    I’ve never seen beaver teeth apart from the beaver before. Thanks for posting that.


    Comment by jomegat — January 17, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

  2. 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.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 17, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

    • I guess their teeth have to be very well anchored to survive the extreme pressure used to cut trees. It was very interesting to me when I extracted them and they kept coming and coming.

      Yes, they often cause big problems doing things just like that. I’ve also seen where they have flooded back roads and sometimes even dropped trees over them.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

  3. 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. 😉


    Comment by shoreacres — January 17, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

    • 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.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

  4. Wow…quite a chunk to haul back to the house…and very interesting choppers, too…seems they would have gotten in the way…..


    Comment by seekraz — January 17, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    • Looking at them by themselves it doesn’t seem that they would fit in an animal’s mouth but they work very well. They must be immensely strong because, now dried out, they are very light.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

  5. What enormous teeth! I had no idea. They have re-introduced beavers to Scotland over the last few years, and they appear to be prospering – they were featured on a ‘Winterwatch’ programme last night.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — January 18, 2013 @ 1:21 am

    • They are fascinating animals and they do have their place in the proper working of nature… as long as there is any truly natural land left in any amount to speak of.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

  6. Great finding. What wood is it?


    Comment by Sartenada — January 18, 2013 @ 4:15 am

  7. Wow-those are some teeth! I’ve heard that, like other rodents, beavers have to constantly gnaw to keep their teeth short.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — January 18, 2013 @ 5:18 am

    • They do, and they are constantly gnawing on trees or shrubs. Of course tender bark is one of their main food sources.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

  8. I am speechless. Those are some of the weirdest teeth I have ever seen! No wonder they inflict so much damage!


    Comment by roberta — January 18, 2013 @ 6:20 am

    • They are amazing. The cutting edges of the teeth are very sharp too.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

  9. 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.


    Comment by C.C. — January 18, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    • 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.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

  10. 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.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — January 18, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    • I considered mailing the “football” to Oregon State but the things is really heavy.

      Even with the size of the teeth, what they do is incredible.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

  11. 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 !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — January 18, 2013 @ 10:09 am

    • Yes, they’re big! Really fun to watch when you get the chance.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

  12. Terry, you’re the only person I know that has done a tooth extraction on a beaver (dead or alive)! LOL!


    Comment by twoscamps — January 18, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    • Well, I don’t make a practice of it. Couldn’t resist though.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

  13. The teeth looked over grown, almost always a part of the final fate for beavers. This post was terrific. And very unusual. As stated above, you would have made a fine dentist!


    Comment by WildBill — January 18, 2013 @ 10:26 am

    • Thanks Bill. I know lots of folks have never had a good close look at a beaver, especially the teeth. Fascinating creatures!


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

  14. Beavers are incredible – amazing what they can do with their teeth!


    Comment by Marcie — January 19, 2013 @ 11:50 am

  15. That’s some serious chomping activity with some serious choppers. “Rodentist,” haha.


    Comment by Candace — January 19, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

  16. That’s a cool souvenir and I’m gobsmacked by the size of the teeth. I guess you need something fairly substantial for felling trees but those gnashers are fearsome!


    Comment by Finn Holding — January 20, 2013 @ 2:12 am

    • I have seen hundreds of beavers over the years and yet when I was able to extract those teeth I was amazed at their size too. And their sharpness.


      Comment by montucky — January 20, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

  17. Like most others, I’m amazed at the teeth! No wonder they are such experts at what they do…


    Comment by farmhouse stories — January 20, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

    • Those teeth create and enable their entire survival strategy, unlike that of any other creature, and they are indeed amazing structures.


      Comment by montucky — January 20, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

  18. I’ve never seen beaver choppers before and I’m not sure that I needed to… LOL. Did you have fun “extracting” them? 😉


    Comment by kcjewel — January 20, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

    • I’ve done things that I’ve enjoyed more, but it was so fascinating that I didn’t really mind.


      Comment by montucky — January 20, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

      • next time, maybe just bring in the whole head and you would have a skulleton 🙂


        Comment by kcjewel — January 21, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

        • Next time? No, I’m like the beaver; I need only one set of those teeth.


          Comment by montucky — January 21, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

  19. fun! and interesting! that’s the best kind of learning there is….


    Comment by skouba — January 24, 2013 @ 9:52 am

    • 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!


      Comment by montucky — January 24, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

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