"WHITE WATER BEAVERS" - Beaver (North American)

April 03, 2024  •  Leave a Comment


Beaver (North American) - 7 Photos


There were so many titles that could have been used for this blog: -

1. Beavers Just Want To Have Fun (Sometimes)

2. White Water Kayaking Beaver

3. Beaver Body Surfing

4. Over The Falls, etc.


Due to the melting ice, there was a major breach in one of the beaver dams in one of the ponds where a beaver family resides. I had gone out late one evening hoping to catch beavers coming ashore to sample the vegetation but was shocked at the volume of water cascading down into the channel below.


This system of ponds & channels is used by the beavers to navigate the course of waterways safely & with minimum exposure to predators. I don't what what it had been like before the thaw, when it might have been a gentle stream but now it resembled a miniature Niagara Falls, with white water pounding down into the water below.


It took some time for beavers to arrive. First one showed up, followed by another and eventually there were five and one lone muskrat. 


Each beaver surveyed the damage, brought over some repair material and re-entered the calm water above the dam. The repair work was minimal, perhaps due to lack of available material or the need to replenish those calories lost over the winter months. Then one by one, the beavers swam back & forth before proceeding down into the "falls". Perhaps, they were contemplating the best way down or maybe it was to pluck up some courage before navigating the white water. 


For humans, white water kayaking requires developing paddle & boat handling skills to negotiate the eddy line, break in and out, ferry glide to cross the water, defensive paddling, brace strokes, and assisted & self rescue techniques. 


Beavers, of course, have the equipment built in and with the ability to hold their breath under water for at least 15 minutes, it becomes a matter of just navigating the area, mostly under the white water, avoiding any potential dangers such as rocks or branches that may be encountered. So paddles & boat handling skills are redundant and with their strong swimming skills & webbed back feet, ferrying, defensive paddling & brace strokes are innate. 


And with regard to the assisted & self rescue techniques, am certain beavers have that covered. On the other hand, there were a few seconds of amusement for the photographer when the muskrat ventured too close to the dam breach & was pulled towards the rushing water. It was a quick turn around, a flip of the muskrat's tail to act as a rudder and a frantic swim back to much calmer water. This muskrat obviously didn't want to be the first muskrat over the falls without a barrel. :) :)


I don't think the muskrat would have had too much difficulty in going in and through the white water but it definitely would have been an extremely quick trip. They too can hold their breath for at least 15 minutes and the entire trip was only seconds but muskrats probably aren't adrenaline junkies like these beavers. 


I now have a whole new appreciation for beavers & their white water skills but also for photographers who capture humans white water kayaking. It's somewhat challenging to follow a kayaker/beaver as they go under water and come out the other side and still have the shot in focus. There were certainly a number of photos taken where all I had was white water and no beaver in the frame.


And yes, no beavers were injured during this adventure. All eventually turned up in the quiet pool below and swam on to sample willows, etc. to replenish much needed calories.











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