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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 5 March 2001 Issue:

Humane, Long-term Beaver Control
By Ainslie Willock, Director

Beavers mate for life and have an average of 4 kits per litter. The kits spend much of their early days in the lodge and then spend almost 2 years with their parents learning necessary survival and engineering skills such as how to build lodges and dams, cache food, avoid predators and more. As the kits spend two winters with their parents, a beaver family may have kits from both the previous and current year. At two years of age, the teenagers leave home and migrate in search of their own territory. Thus homeowners who have killed the beavers on their property will find that these migrating teenagers quickly refill any vacated niches. Consequently, it's important to implement long-term solutions that don't involve killing beavers.

Examples can be found in Canada and in the States, where homeowners and towns have given up trapping and instead are installing water level control devices to stop the flooding while allowing the beavers to remain in their habitat. Laura Simon, the Fund for Animals' Urban Wildlife Director, told me that the Public Works and Highway Departments in many Connecticut towns are raving about this "win-win" solution, which prevents road flooding in a low-maintenance, cost-effective way.

To learn about long term solutions to beaver problems get a copy of The Fund for Animals' 15-minute video entitled "A Step by Step Guide To Solving Beaver Problems." (A 7-minute version "A New Way to Solve Beaver Problems" can be accessed in the multimedia resource section of their web page at:  - to download the video you'll need a sophisticated computer with a real player.) Send $12 U.S. for the 15-minute video to:
The Fund for Animals,
Connecticut Field Office,
P.O. Box 3665 Amity Station,
New Haven, CT USA 06525
Tel: 203-389-4411 (ask for Beaver Remedies Program Coordinator, Deb Gode.)

The video will teach you how to build a simple, inexpensive piping system that will solve flooding problems and allow beavers to continue to live in their natural habitat with you. The key to the success of the piping system is that it works against the beavers' instincts. When the "inflow (or inlet)" end of the pipe is placed about 20 feet upstream from the dam, the beavers don't associate the sound of running water with a threat to their dam - so they'll leave the pipes alone and thus the water level of the dam remains constant, eliminating the flooding normally associated with beaver dams. The video also shows you how to simply and inexpensively "landscape" or hide the pipes and also how to prevent trees from being cut down.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has a fact sheet entitled "Options for controlling beaver on private land" see:   and do a search for beaver control. This document does refer to trapping, shooting and dam destruction but emphasizes that the beavers will come back with these methods and that it's best to create a stable situation and learn to enjoy beavers by placing an overflow pipe into the dam. For a copy of the fact sheet contact: Ministry of Natural Resources, Whitney Block, 99 Wellesley St. W., Toronto, ON Canada M7A 1W3 Tel: 416-314-2000.

staff:nFrom: [email protected]   (Deborah Nizman)

Return to Animals in Print 5 Mar 2001 Issue

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