Posted by: atowhee | March 1, 2023


I got these photos about 250PM today at Salem’s Riverfront Park. This full-sized beaver (I’m estimating fifty pounds) had climbed up a near-vertical thirty foot high riverbank to reach this stump. The scene in the top photo is rich with information. Clearly that paddle tail is visible. Only a beaver…. The stump behind him was cut down by park workers after the beavers girdled and killed it. Probably this guy’s whole beaver clan was involved in the tooth work of killing that large tree. In the background you can see Willamette Slough from whence the beaver came and to which he will return.

Click here for more on beavers’ teeth. Beaver teeth contains iron–makes those teeth strong, and orange. Flossing would not change the color. It’s those four incisors, two top and two bottom, that make the beaver such a superb woodworker.

Larger than a porcupine, this is North America’s largest rodent. A large male can weigh over 60 pounds. A California ground squirrel less than 2 pounds. Any marmot, less than twenty. Puxatawny Phil? Less than ten pounds.

What was he after? Grass perhaps. He did stop to nibble on exposed root from the same tree whose dead trunk stood behind him.
Beavers are herbivores with the bark and cambium layer of deciduous trees (not oaks) their main course. They will also eat floating aquatic vegetation. That includes cattails. Also ferns, blackberries and other vegie goodies. Double-click on any image for full screen view.

No other wild animal was as crucial to 19th Century Oregon history as the beaver. Astoria was founded as a fur-trapping fort. Fort Vancouver began as Hudson’s Bay Company’s local trapping headquarters. In the 1830s Nuttall and Townsend traveled across the continent from Boston with a party of…fur trappers. The desired fur was largely beaver. Beaver hats were popular in much of Europe from late 16th Century until mid-19th. In many areas of North America beavers were extirpated by trappers.

Beavers are dam builders, foresters, habitat managers. Few animals can have as weighty influence on streams, trees and marshes as this one.

I didn’t notice whether this beaver had a letter jacket or hat stowed nearby…so I couldn’t be sure he was an Oregon State University alumnus, but we are pretty close to Corvallis…

Here’s the ODFW “advice” to private landowners: “After assessing beaver activity, determine if beavers are causing damage or creating a hardship that requires lethal control. Sometimes, the very presence of beavers is seen as a
problem when, in fact, the beavers are causing no harm.
Private landowners or their agents may lethally remove beaver without a permit from
ODFW. Beavers are defined in state statues as a predatory animal on private land. See
section below on Species Status.
Once lethal control is decided upon, the landowners can trap the beaver themselves, hire an
ODFW-permitted Wildlife Control Operator who works directly with property owners to
resolve problem beaver situations on a fee basis, or allow an ODFW-licensed regulated
trapper to remove beaver during the established trapping season. Call your local ODFW
office or visit the ODFW Web site for a current list of Wildlife Control Operators.
Note: Removing beavers is often a short-term solution as other beavers will move into the
area if suitable habitat is present.”

Click here for ODFW’s PDF on beavers.

Click here for story of groups pushing to protect beavers on all federal lands.



  1. Pretty neat – I’ve seen nutria but never a beaver in daytime at Riverfront park.

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