Who Done It?

Mt Hood

During the spring, I discovered this sapling in a powerline easement along Lolo Pass Road on the north side of Mt Hood at about 3000 feet. For scale, the marks are about 1/8" wide. No scat or bark strips were left at the base of the tree.

Photo by Dennis Deck

What gnawed the bark on this tree?

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The tooth marks and cut limbs should suggesting a large rodent. There was evidence that this fellow burrowed in the snow to reach various trees (alder, willow, and conifers) during the winter months.

Both porcupine and mountain beaver are active all year round in the Oregon Cascades and can debark trees. However, the teeth marks are too small for porcupine and no scat or bark was found at the site. The remains of a winter snow tunnel led to the sapling from a mountain beaver burrow.

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