Sunday, July 08, 2012

Taku Lake Beaver Gets Close

Biking home yesterday on along the Campbell Creek trail I checked for the beaver I saw in Taku Lake last time.  There it was, lazily eating, not far from shore.  I stopped and started to video.  And then it came closer.  I kept videoing, but I did start wondering whether beavers attack people.

A google search says yes, but rarely.  Here's a Swedish account  (in English) of people attacked while swimming.  The Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort says
Fight or Flight Zone:  The fight or flight zone for beaver is dependent on whether they are in the water or on land.  On land they will run as soon as they perceive your presence.  In the water they are a little less afraid but they will submerge quickly.
  • Beaver represent no threat to humans.
  • Beavers slap their tail on the water to warn trespassers.
But there are accounts of a rabid beaver attacking  three people in a Philadelphia park.

I didn't know any of that at the time.  I was thinking that the beaver was coming to me, so I wasn't threatening it.  But I'm guessing it was less than ten feet away. 

As you watch the video, at the end, pay attention to the tail.  You can see that I was surprised.  A tripod would have helped.  Or would I have knocked it over?

The Pacific Streamkeepers Federation has a lengthy but straightforward page on problems caused by beavers and if and how to intervene.


  1. Remember Jimmy Carter and the crazed attack rabbit?

    Yes, you could have been in mortal danger! (cough)

    Pretty cool beaver, though. Thanks.

  2. I don't think the little guy saw you, or maybe he didn't see you as a threat. If you were emitting calm energy, forest creatures keep calm, too. As for the splash at the end, it gave me a good, satisfying jolt. It looked like he was surprised to suddenly see you and quickly fled. Will watch it again.

  3. Thank you, that was lovely, and it reminds me of the times we have been swimming or snorkeling with manatees. They too permit you to watch them feed or rest, especially late in winter, after they have spent the cold months in the estuaries and springs. But if you startle them, that big flat tail will give one up-and-down, and they are gone, though they normally a slow moving species.


  4. Hey Steve,

    I'm amazed at the amount of material that you cover in your remarkable Blog. From Gary Snyder to great video of a local beaver. I can easily see now that this is a full-time "job." It's quite a project. And you're doing such a terrific job.

    Gary Snyder is a long time 'hero' of mine... I've seen him talk before in both the Bay Area and Seattle. He is a remarkable person and has had an influence on my life. We named our first sailboat we lived on, "Turtle Island."

    Thank you for the mention of my Flickr Photostream and giving the link, and your kind words. Appreciate it. I would also like to get out into the woods! Overcast weather is problematical with photography and while I try and work around it as best I can, I enjoy it more when I have actual sunlight! I have not been out in five days... that's not good. For one thing, I get cranky! :)

    But I hope you can join me on an outing although I worry that it could be kind of boring since the pace can be slow. I go with Harry, our 220-pound brown Newfoundland dog, and we match each others pace very well, but I know you're a hiker and bike rider so I hope you won't fall asleep as you're walking!

    Anyway, speaking of local Beavers, you've most likely seen the handiwork of the Beavers at Goose Lake by the University.
    I was there recently and was amazed how they have ravaged the entire shoreline of the lake!

    Personally, I would hope those in charge will look for ways to deal with this problem without trapping the Beavers and relocating them. I can't hope to offer a solution since I know nothing about Beavers in the City but we seem to live with Moose fairly well in Anchorage so I hope we will extend that tolerance to Beavers.

    Thanks again for including me in the Blog... and your video of the Beaver is just terrific!

    Doug Brown.


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