Regardless of habitat, the beaver leaves his mark on the land. The river banks are dotted with trails where the beaver enter the forest edge to cut willow, cottonwood, and other trees. Feeding stations are littered with branches freshly stripped of their bark. Here I show examples of dams, tracks, trails, trees, scent mounds, and skulls.


It is well known that beaver build on small streams and construct their houses in the pond created by the dam.

However, they also live along larger rivers where it is not possible to build their dams. In such places they burrow into the bank.



Beaver usually cover up their own tracks when they drag sticks down to the water. Sometimes their tail drags behind, swinging back and forth as they waddle along.


Feeding involves cutting both large trees and small samplings. The cut on small wood usually involves a 45 degree cut typical of rodents but at a larger scale. On large trunks, beaver sometimes gnaw the bark rather than drag it to the water.

Scent Mounds

Beaver will build scent mounds of mud or sand and apply secretions from a musk gland. The scrape used to build the mound may be more prominent than the mound itself as seen in the following photographs.


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