Rodents of Unusual Size and the De-Swampification of My Puddle

I inhabit an area that is adjacent to a wetland that can vary from a pond to a bog.  In the last few days an unseasonably heavy pre-Thanksgiving snowfall was melted off by substantial rainfall.  When this happened I could hear the stream that feeds the puddle flowing pretty heavily and I noticed the level of the puddle was rising pretty significantly.  Well, what of it?  Winter is coming and that will put a stop to most of the flow.

pond shot with Sony A7 III and Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

After that the puddle will solidify and stop being a concern until Spring.  But Camera girl has the vision of a hawk or eagle or something.  And she saw something interesting.

crop of beaver in pond shot with Sony A7 III and Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

Now I wish I had bought that Sigma 600mm zoom.  I assume soon my basement will be underwater and the beaver will be cohabiting with us and borrowing my stuff.  There’s never an end to the indignities of living in New England.  This undocumented migrant probably has all kinds of protected status, doesn’t pay taxes and for all I know is a trans-gender study major at the local state college all on my dime.  I’ll keep everyone updated on the horror.

18 thoughts on “Rodents of Unusual Size and the De-Swampification of My Puddle

  • November 27, 2018 at 7:47 pm
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    Sic the EPD on the beaver, tell them that the beaver is modifying wetlands without permits.

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    • November 27, 2018 at 7:57 pm
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      Unless the dam actually raises the water level into my area, I’m going to be on good relations with the beaver family. It’s the coyotes, fishers and owls that I have a bone to pick with. Their night time serenades leave a lot to be desired as music.

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      • November 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm
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        He could be an insurgent in the Honorable Resistance. One of those ungovernable deplorable’s, setting up a guerrilla base of operations to start 4th Generation war against the New England Fabien’s.
        Look at those steely eyes and the beaver fur uniform.

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        • November 28, 2018 at 1:18 pm
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          I hope to bring him over to the alt-rodent.

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          • November 29, 2018 at 2:44 am
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            Heh.
            Good deal.
            Though watch out, you know CNN will probably call them racist “The Mad Hatters”, get them classified with the Southern Propaganda Lie Center as domestic terrorist group with assault teeth, or accused of appropriating one of feminism’s third hole genders.

  • November 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm
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    You have the makings of some cool ecology there. If theres enough oxygen in your brook, at least for the first 3 years after your beavers build a damn system, Brook Trout fishing is spectacular. Talking orange salmon meat tasty lunkers. After that unless theres a good amount of moving oxygenated in flow the ponds get too stagnant.

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    • November 28, 2018 at 1:16 pm
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      I wouldn’t even dignify this water as a brook. Except when there’s a good rain it’s more like a seepage. But it’ll be fun to watch the beavers. I hope the coyotes can’t reach him. They’re pretty big.

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      • November 29, 2018 at 2:59 am
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        You might have a spring there too. Over time enough hydraulic pressure from heavy rains could erode out a new leak path, or it takes a secondary course. There’s a lot of underground “rivers” in the northeast. Walden pond is fed by one from traced up into NH, I heard when I was younger growing up in NH its so deep to explore divers required decompression dives.
        Critters know their environment, what better natural hydraulic engineers than Beavers and Muskrats.
        I discovered one on a small farm I had in North Sandwich NH, hand dug a small trench across it, it was only 4 ft down, the 250 gal a minute pump on my buddies Ford tractor wasn’t enough to run it dry. But you would never know it was there without divining for it. I used coat hangers to find it because the original well had too much ferric and ferrous iron. I can’t make the tree switches work. Coat hanger or bare copper wire works well. (no pun intended)

        The young beavers get pushed out of their birth area by the parents and set up with mates in a new area. This late in the season they probably know there’s good conditions to set up a home. Not a lot of time before the freeze sets in to store enough food under the ice where they can get it.
        Watch for them building a lodge. You see that they are there to stay till the food supply is exhausted. They don’t always build damns though.

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        • November 29, 2018 at 7:52 am
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          Interesting. I’ll have to look for the lodge. The water rose a significant amount in the last week. I’ll put up some photos when I have a chance to investigate.

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          • November 29, 2018 at 11:33 am
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            Your lucky. I have a creek on my land, a series of beaver damns would create a great resource they way it lays.
            Its great to see beavers make a comeback. They have such a profound effect on their area of operations, drastically changing that environment. Cant think of another animal with the same capability.
            The damn systems can be phenomenal works of hydraulic engineering.

          • November 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm
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            In the short term it may cause some critters to have to relocate their burrows though.

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  • November 29, 2018 at 9:22 pm
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    If the beavers stay to build ponds you will get a lot of critters from coons to minks dining on the aquatic life. Blue Herons, Wood Ducks, even Otters will drop by if there’s good fish to feed them. And everyone in the forrest uses the dams to cross over the brooks.

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    • November 29, 2018 at 9:38 pm
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      I went to check out the situation. He has set up a small lodge but it isn’t at the outlet of the pond so far. He’s taken down some small trees and he eats the bark off of the trunks and branches. He moves around pretty freely but retreated when he saw me. We get a pretty good cross section of those species you listed except I’ve never seen an otter around. In addition we have coyotes, fox, bobcat and fishers. The only thing I haven’t seen is bear. But they are in the area. Which predator is the beaver prey for?

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      • November 30, 2018 at 12:58 pm
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        A lodge is a good sign. They like a bank with undercut feature or where they can carve out a shute. Your little guy will cut the tender branches up and store them under the ice for when your pond freezes. Once the hole in the ice they try to keep open freezes up closed the bark of those branches will be most of their food supply. Open water is their means of defense.
        Otters will come thru occasionally hunting for fish, clams, crawdads and amphibian’s hibernating in the mud. They have wicked keen eye sight. If your lucky enough to be still for awhile and they are coming to hunt they are awesome to watch. A tree stand helps if you want to watch or get some good photo’s, even 4-6ft off the ground. Just a simple lumber platform with something to sit on. You have to sit still, not move for long periods.
        Beavers showing up indicates you have pristine conditions.

        Any apex predator that can sink its fangs in one. Trappers too. Beavers are really stout critters. They fight back hard.
        Lot of meat on a mature beaver, the tail stores fat for oil they require for their fur and energy reserves. They can kind of semi hibernate for spells.
        I grew up in a trapping family. It is amazing how much meat you get. More than we could eat. A dog food guy bought our remains. We trapped muskrats almost exclusively, sometimes you get minks or other diesels in the rat traps because they eat Muskrats. Or a coon. We called those gorillas. Back then you had to scrap stretch, comb out the fur real nice, then wrap the furs up in cellophane a freeze them for the fur buyer. Racoons got to be greasiest grissly skins on earth to scrape. Sometimes they brought real good money.
        Muskrat is delicious meat, not much on them though. Little drumsticks and thighs.Very tender. The fur smells nice cause of their musky fur oil. Softist fur you can imagine.
        We never trapped beaver. We had friends and family who did. Its whole different system from rats. The connibear traps for beaver are as large as slam traps get, take a finger off or crush a hand before you can blink setting one. Setting leg holds is an art. Bevears can pull out of one before its closes, fox will too. Beavers come chest first into shore, legs back, so you have to place a leg hold where they put their front paws. If you don’t position it right and they set it off you won’t trap one in that spot again. They are pretty intelligent that way. Used to be you set them as “Drowners”, where the game law required the animal to drown immediately. Takes a lot to learn the ways. Some states allow snares. More consistently effective and you can use them in a million ways.
        You get to know the woods real well trapping. You got to read all the spoor, think like what your hunting. Its not easy by any standard. If its a family/tribal tradition your in good company you don’t have to reinvent the wheel so to say. And your out checking sets at least every 24 hours by law, and duty as a conscientious responsible Woodsman, you end up seeing everything, its how you function, you become a predator.
        We ate out of the woods year round. Its a meat shop really. Wholesome, gratifying, a healthy way to live.
        I still fill my freezer with meat, my wife cans up 50 to 75 quarts of deer meat a year, with taters and carrots we grow. Nothing like it, best beef stew going. She uses Worcester Sauce, salt and pepper in it. Middle of winter, she will cook up some noodles, or use straight canned deer meat make Beef Stroganough.
        I moved to WV 12 years back now. The wild turkey here is mind blowing gourmet bird meat. As good as NH Ruffed or Spruce Grouse.
        You can bag about 11 deer off the various seasons and tags. As a land owner and small farmer you can obtain kill permits to keep them off your corn and truck garden. Very high deer population here in my area. Over thanksgiving myself, my neighbor, his cousins and uncles, on our combined land bagged 14 deer over thanksgiving week. Number of hunters don’t eat deer meat, so you can get that meat too if they don’t care to give it to you. I have about 40 lbs deer meat froze up waiting to be canned. My niebhor and me every day look at each other, and one of us will say, We got it made. And laugh as good men do. He raises Beef, I grow a few hogs, I work in a small custom meat shop half way down the mountain, curing bacon hams and brisket. The owner is adding on an addition with the facilities for, dry cure and fermented sausage, presute’s, natural wood smoked. We only do dry cure right now. Old world toothsome curiculture delicacies. I learned it growing up, retired from coal mining couple years back, heard this nice old cattle farmer started up a meat shop, and offered my services as a gesture of community spirit and co-operation. I’m a real believer in that tribe/community way of life. Getting back to old ways. They are old ways because they are long learned-hard won. Its healthy for communities to hold onto traditions. Only way we get it back is it all begins with ourselves.

        Saying I’m happy for you you got Beavers in your pond, I really mean it to you. We cant lose these things and reclaim everything we are as christian men of the west. We have to know the gifts of Earth The lord given us, how they are integral to us as Men. It aint gonna happen without this. Everything is connected.

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        • November 30, 2018 at 3:37 pm
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          Excellent information. You should let me put some of these comments into a post. You could have a guest post column on country life. It’s interesting stuff.

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  • November 29, 2018 at 9:45 pm
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    You see any signs of them knawing on trees? Put up a couple Wood Duck nest box’s. They love them over open water, so you got to do it before it floods or from a canoe or plain old wade it. In the Boy Scouts we put up a couple in NewIpswich NH along the Souhegan River, if you know the area, beginning from the flood control below Gibson’s Four Corners northwards. Lived on the River Rd till our house burnt down. Best Brook trout fishing I ever experienced. My grandad, who raised me caught a US record native Brooky in the Souhegan. There’s those monsters in that deep undercut bank river system, they get so large they can only feed on the largest prey or they expend more energy than they gain. That stretch of the river ecology was polluted with wild life. Prime boreal rain forrest like habitat. There where old Indian camps along it, we would hunt for arrow and spear points, it must have been used for centuries, the river runs north too, made it even more popular, what till it gets near Milford right?

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    • November 29, 2018 at 10:12 pm
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      He took down some saplings so far. So far the only ducks I’ve seen are some mallards that show up in the early spring and hatch out ducklings. Great Blue Herons drop in from time to time and spook really easily. Haven’t gotten a photo of one on this pond yet.

      By the way, you’ve got a lot of interesting natural history knowledge. I’ve got to talk you into contributing some articles here on those subjects. If you’re interested let me know. I’ll set up a folder of your stuff.

      Reply

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