|Underfur, guard hairs and front claws|
|Webbed hind foot|
|Click to enlarge|
Beaver have especially large lungs which hold a supply of air as well as an enlarged liver which stores enough oxygenated blood to permit beavers to stay underwater for 15 minutes at a time. They can thus swim long distances under water and into safety, avoiding predators.
|Double-edged secondary claw|
Beaver in southern Missouri seldom construct lodges and tend to live in bank burrows. The fast flowing, flood prone streams tend to wash out the dams frequently, making the mounded homes they build up north more temporary. Here we identify their location by food piles of sticks stored under water as well as their slides and harvested stumps. Their burrows along Bull Creek are frequently limited by the rocky shelf under the soil. They will raise the roof close to the top soil, causing a collapse. This may cause them to create a new burrow as well as promoting further bank erosion with the next flood.
In the 1860s there were still lots of beaver in all the Missouri watersheds in spite of commercial trapping. By 1895 there were only a few left due to landscape changes and uncontrolled trapping with improved techniques. From 1928 to 1955 there was a restocking program, importing beaver from other states. As far as Bull Creek is concerned, this has been a tail-whopping success!
* Quotes from The Wild Mammals of Missouri by Charles and Elizabeth Schwartz, University of Missouri Press. 2001.