Beavers are the cute brown ones with the big flat tail, right? You’re correct! These woodland creatures enjoy using their body to build their domes and dames. But what happens when it tries to build it on your property? Not so cute anymore, huh.
If one does slip in and decide to inhabit your backyard or pond, use these techniques to trap a beaver:
- Decide on a beaver trap: at least forty-two inches wide, fifteen inches high, and two millimeters thick. It must be big enough for the entire beaver to fit.
- Determine the placement of the trap: place the trap along one of their noticeable trails:
- Close to the shoreline of their walking path (or “beaver slide”)
- Near the end of the beaver’s crossover dam – if in water, only partially submerge it
- Bait the trap: place the bait towards the end of the cage to ensure the beaver is fully encased.
- Set the trap: best time is around sunset. Place it near the entrance of their den with the trap door open.
- Relocation: Once you’ve caught the beaver, relocate it to a semi-aquatic area at least six to ten miles away, or call animal control.
Beavers are interesting creatures, and have a highly predictable lifestyle pattern, so picking up on its trail should be a successful task. If you’re going to attempt to trap it yourself, there are some traits that you should know about first.
What Is The Best Bait For A Beaver?
Let’s start with the fact that the beavers are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants and vegetation. So if the bait doesn’t grow out of the ground, it won’t work.
Because of their thick teeth, beavers tend to eat just about any fruit that is thick and/or crunchy. They enjoy cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. Their favorite, and most abundant, meal of all is woody plants, like trees!
The best bait for beaver traps are natural, and can be found literally everywhere! Be sure to include the most irresistible beaver food so that you have a higher chance of catching it!
- Tree bark: willow, cottonwood, aspen, poplar, maple, birch, oak, sycamore, ash, alder, black cherry and apple trees
- Woody plants: roots, leaves, vines, new twigs, sedges, shrubs, grasses, blackberry canes, ferns
- Soft vegetation: apples, grasses, water lilies, clover, giant ragweed, spatterdock, duck potatoes, cattails and watercress
- Beaver castor: the scent of another beaver is very effective
Oh, one more thing. There is a misconception that beavers eat fish. We only think that because we know that they can swim, and spend half of their life in the water. However, it is not true. Beavers do not eat fish, so don’t waste your effort trying to use it as bait.
How Do You Bait A Beaver?
Baiting a beaver can be pretty easy. Simply camouflage the cage, and place the bait in. But of course, it’s a bit more technical than that.
First off, use the proper bait! The list of bait that I gave you is not just for show. It is the exquisite grocery list for a beaver dinner party, and we want as many guests to show up so we can get rid of them all at once.
Second, the placement of the bait is the difference between you capturing the animal, and letting the animal slip away. The type of trap you decide to use will determine how, and where, the bait is placed.
If you are using a one-door live cage, place the bait all the way in the back corner of the cage. Be sure that the area looks natural so that the beaver will fully emerge itself into the cage to grab it.
If you’re using a two-door live cage, place the bait directly in the middle of the cage, behind the trigger button. That way, when the beaver sees it, it will take that extra step closer and hopefully step on the trigger, which closes the trap for you.
Remember, a snare trap is simply a wire lasso meant to close around the neck or body of the beaver. So if you’re using a snare trap, place the bait in an open space. This can be pretty tricky because there will be so much opportunity for the beaver to see you.
If they see you, they run. But that’s the upside of the open space, you can still see the beaver, and still have a great chance of catching it. Just make sure the bait is in a spacious clearing.
The bait can be placed in a natural open area. Literally, just place your bait near the trap, and cover the trap up with leaves and sticks. The beaver will casually see the bait, and walk directly into you twig-covered trap.
The best place to put your beaver bait for a lethal trap is partially submerged in the beaver’s lake, river, or primary water source. Most lethal traps are placed in the water because while the trap suffocates, the water helps out by drowning the beaver.
So since most lethal traps are set in the water, your bait should be in the water too. Do not fully submerge the bait in the water. Yes, the beaver will still come for it, but now you can’t see the beaver! Partially submerge the bait in the water, close to the trap trigger.
The most important part of baiting the beaver properly is to place the bait next to the trap trigger. Once it steps on the trigger, the trap closes and will either successfully trap the beaver, or kill it. Either way, you are successful.
Beaver Trapping Tips
I think that it’s safe to say that you didn’t choose to bring a beaver into your backyard. If that’s the case, I’m sure that you want it gone before it causes any problem for your home or yard.
Check out these helpful beaver trapping tips that will save you lots of effort!
- Patience is key: beavers are known shy away from traps if they see one
- Camouflage is your friend! Use the dirt, leaves, and twigs to completely disguise your trap
- Don’t disturb their dams: beavers can sense danger very well. If they see that their structure has been damaged, they will simply relocate a couple of feet away.
- A level surface is necessary for trapping: If you can’t find a good spot, use a piece of wood to stabilize it (the beaver will thank you for the free snacks!)
- There are no effective repellents for beavers
- A den can contain up to eight beavers: so if you have one beaver problem, you have several
- There are four types of traps: live, leg-hold, snare and lethal.
- Live traps simply capture the whole beaver for easy relocation
- Leg-hold, well, grabs a hold of one of its legs and keeps the beaver steady
- Snare traps are wire cords that can quickly close around the beavers’ neck
- Lethal traps end their life.
- Place one log on each side of the camouflaged trap to naturally guide the animal into the cage or trap.
- Most states require a license to trap and relocate animals, so look up your local animal-trapping laws to see if you’re eligible.
With these solid tips, catching that friendly, yet annoying beaver should be a breeze. Although they are intelligent, traps are very effective when set up the correct way. The best way to get the beaver into the trap is by baiting it!
Can Beavers Attack Humans?
Beavers are known to be pretty docile animals, and non-threatening when they are unbothered. However, if you make a beaver feel threatened, then yes, a beaver can attack you in order to defend itself.
Beavers show warning signs before they attack, so if you see these gestures, simply back up, and try again later.
- If the beaver is threatened on land, it will raise itself on its hind legs, face you, and begin to hiss or growl.
- If it’s threatened in water, it will slap its huge tail on the surface of the water to alert the colony, or as a simple distraction, then dive under the water for safety.
The water is an effective tactic since beavers can hold their breath for up to fifteen minutes. So keep this in mind if you plan on trapping the beaver while it’s submerged.
Are Beavers A Nuisance?
On the surface, no, beavers are not a nuisance.
Beavers are productive and care-free. They are nocturnal beings, meaning they are most active between sunset and sunrise. They do what they must to avoid contact with most of the world, outside of their colony.
These animals mean no intentional harm.
However, when we dig deeper, because of their favorite and most productive activity – tree cutting and dam building – beavers can be a nuisance to most humans. When a beaver builds its dam, it usually crosses a flow of water like a pond, lake, or river.
The point of a dam is to hold back water as a reservoir. The problem with building this structure in residential areas is that it creates an increased chance for flooding, which could cause millions of dollars in damages.
Cutting down trees is also a beaver’s organic lifestyle trait that can negatively impact ours. Beaver have very strong teeth that are capable of chewing through an entire tree. The fallen trees can affect housing, agriculture, powerlines, crops, public safety, and even other humans.
According to DEEP, there aren’t too many deterrents that can shy a beaver away, which can make them a challenge to get rid of. It has been suggested that altering the water levels of their water source, or consistently breaking down their dam, could persuade them build shelter elsewhere.
Beavers are highly necessary for nature’s ecosystem, but not your residence. Be sure to follow the aforementioned steps to trapping the beaver if you start to notice a mound of sticks piling up.
Are Beavers Poisonous?
No, beavers are not poisonous. This is an extremely random, yet reasonable question to ask and answer, and extremely helpful to know when trying to trap a beaver. It’s nice to know that you won’t be poisoned by the strong bite of our rodent friend.
But beavers do carry a disease: Giardiasis, or commonly known as “beaver fever.”
Giardiasis is a parasite that causes gastrointestinal distress that ultimately leads to mild-to-severe diarrhea. The parasite spreads via the disbursement of animal waste, which is why the beaver can get it so easily. It can also contaminate food and water, which is how most humans receive it.
This parasite is common when it comes to beavers simply because they are woodland and aquatic creatures, so they are always surrounded by the feces of other animals; thus, making it really easy for them to catch it, and unintentionally spread it.
If you come into contact with a beaver, and you think you may have this parasite, use this list of symptoms to be sure:
- Mild to severe loose stool
- Stomach cramps
Symptoms appear within ten days; thankfully, this parasite can be treated with antibiotics, and is non-lethal most of the time. When trapping the beaver, there are certain suggestions that you should use to reduce your chance of contracting it:
- Wash your hands with soap to get rid of bacteria (most important!)
- Refrain from direct contact with furry wild animals (wear gloves)
- Avoid drinking directly from ponds, streams, and rivers (it’s filled with animal waste)
Are Beavers An Invasive Species?
Beavers are pretty secluded animals that simply eat, build, and play with their mates. They only have a few major predators to worry about, and use their semi-aquatic skills to protect themselves. Because of these factors, they tend to thrive and multiply.
Beavers are considered “invasive” because of their capability to thrive and multiply efficiently, and ability to manipulate their habitat quickly. Beavers are known to have between two and four kits, or baby beavers, per year.
Imagine if every human had two-to-four children….we’d spread out fairly quickly too.
Due to the fact that they spread so quickly, and naturally manipulate their environment at their will, in the course of one year, it can take a major negative toll on our residences, properties, crops, and agriculture.
The country of Tierra Del Fuego thought it would be a good idea to import beavers from Canada to Chile so they could increase their profits in their fur industry. Unfortunately, it did not happen that way.
Los Angeles Times reported that twenty-five beavers were transported to Chile. That number drastically increased to 200,000! The problem isn’t the amount of beavers, but the actions of the beavers.
“…have built hundreds of dams, and though beaver dams can invigorate some ecosystems, in Patagonia they are creating harmful floods that threaten the primeval forest of lenga trees and nearby lakes.”
In the end, beavers can be invasive, if they have decades to do it, and have few predators within their domain. However, on average, beavers tend to multiply at the typical rate of dogs, and are not invasive, as long as their habitat is fully stocked with trees and water.
How Long Is A Beaver Pregnant?
A beaver’s pregnancy can last for a period of 60 to 130 days, or approximately two to four months. Imagine that!
Beavers tend to be monogamous creatures, and usually share themselves with only their mate for life! Beaver live in groups called a “colony.” The colony is basically made up of their family.
Eurasian beavers typically stay pregnant for three to four months, while North American beavers only carry for just about 3 months. The offspring is usually weaned from their mother within two to six weeks.
Beavers have to learn quick within their first year of life.
By the end of the second year, they are on their own in nature, building dams and surviving on their own; and by the end of year three, the offspring have found a lifetime mate of their own, and the cycle starts over again.
Do Beavers Lose Their Teeth?
Typically, A beaver will not lose its teeth. Beaver teeth never stop growing. The teeth are made of dentine on the inside, and hard enamel on the outside, just like ours. The dentine is said to erode faster than the enamel, which makes their teeth self-sharpening!
BBC Earth relayed that a beaver’s incisor teeth can grow approximately half of a centimeter a month. So if they didn’t constantly gnaw on wood, beavers would end up with inches of teeth! That’s a freaky sight to behold.
Luckily, beavers do gnaw on wood everyday, which is exactly what keeps their teeth down to reasonable size, and what keeps them super sharp. Without constantly chomping on trees, the mouth of a beaver would be disastrous.
If a beaver lost any of their teeth, or allowed it to continuously grow, the beaver would not be able to eat, or end up unintentionally hurting themselves. In the end, the beaver will most likely die.
Fun Fact! In addition to enamel and dentine, beavers also have iron in their teeth. That’s the exact reason as to why their teeth are so strong!
What Are Some Interesting Facts About Beavers
Beavers are nice creatures with strong colorful teeth, and a rudder for a tail. But did you know that the largest species was about eight feet long, and weighed around two hundred pounds? Makes sense since they’re the second largest rodents on earth.
We have a lot to learn if we want to be successful at trapping a beaver. Here are some more fun facts about beavers:
- Beavers have internal flaps that covers their eyes and ears while they are in the water; and yet, they can still see and hear!
- In the 16th century, the catholic church considered beavers to be “fish” because of their tail and aquatic lifestyle, and were eaten during fasting days!
- Beavers have bad eyesight, but amazing hearing and smelling
- Castoreum is a anal secretion that the beaver uses to mark its territory.
- The cool part about it is that it smells like vanilla! The absolutely nasty part about it is that castoreum is used in some artificial flavoring! Gross!
- Beavers can swim up to five miles per hour
- Beaver teeth are coated with iron, which is why they look orange! (Rust)
- With only eight pounds of beaver secretion, 400 million cigarettes can be produced
- Beavers build their dam based on the location of where the running water is
If you made it to the end of this article – especially after reading those fun facts – congratulations! You’re ready to trap that pesky beaver.
Choose your trap wisely, and fully bait it. Give the beaver a reason to step up and be captured. You’ll be glad that you did. Let us know how your adventure went, and which options worked best for you!
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare