For quite some time I've been trying to get decent pictures of the 2nd largest rodent, the beaver. They are very uncooperative and the fact that they are basically nocturnal adds to the complications. Nocturnal means active after the sun goes down, which means low to little light, which translates to "difficult to photograph". We have spent countless hours sitting quietly alongside beaver dams hoping to capture images of beaver that prefers day shift or 2nd shift as opposed to hoot owl shift. We have a beaver dam near to our home that is home to a couple beavers. These beavers are wise to us and will only show up when the light is to low to capture decent images. It's a mental game and they are winning.
Recently we lucked out and found a beaver that was apparently afraid of the dark and showed up well before dark. We spotted him coming from quite a ways and he ended up swimming right toward us. He was still a good distance away but we still got some decent images.
The term "busy as a beaver" means just what it implies. These large rodents are workers for certain. A beaver can chew through a tree 10" in diameter overnight. Their teeth continually grow so the chewing has little affect on their chompers. These teeth are also self sharpening due to the growth pattern. Their dam building skills are amazing. By the way, only the back feet are webbed on a beaver. The longest dam was spotted by satellite imagery in Alberta. This dam was twice the width of the Hoover dam at over a half mile wide. Even their lodges are amazing which normally have at least two chambers. One chamber is actually a drying chamber for when they exit the water and enter the lodge. The other chamber is the living area. Sometimes they share this room with a Muskrat or two.
Baby beavers will stay in the lodge for the first month of their young lives before they venture outside. They will stay with the parents for about 2 years. They mimic the behavior of the parents and become the same busy little beavers like their Mom and Dad who mate for life. Beavers don't hibernate during the winter but stay primarily in the lodges and will chew a stick for nourishment. Beavers can stay underwater for 15 minutes but are careful to leave a small air hole in the top of the lodge for breathing purposes. Maybe someday we'll get better pictures but for now these will have to suffice.