beaver with branch

The Humble Beaver, (One Of) My Favorite Animals

Alaska, Wildlife Photography

Beaver with grassI have always liked beavers; I always had great respect for their work ethic. But one day, while hiking along the Savage River, I saw the most unlikely of sights: a beaver frolicking in the rapidly moving stream. It was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen – an animal seemingly having human-like fun.

I am accustomed to seeing beavers dutifully tending their dams and fastidiously collecting food for winter, so this sight was a far cry from the working beaver I was used to. This beaver was carefree, “rafting” down the river with childlike reckless abandon.

At that moment, the beaver became my favorite animal. (Well, favorite rodent at least.)

But then, as the beaver rode over the rapids and ought of sight, a thought occurred to me: This is no country for beaver. To my knowledge, there were no livable streams, rivers or ponds in the vicinity. What was at first giddy excitement over seeing an animal let loose and have fun turned to dread as I feared for the safety of the poor rodent. Let’s face it, a fat, juicy beaver must look like bacon-wrapped filet for a bear. And a beaver on land is about as agile as a bacon-wrapped filet.

I posted the photo below of the fun-having beaver to my Facebook page,

frolicking beaver

and to my relief, a friend told me that there were indeed beaver habitats in the vicinity. Further research, using the very much trustworthy site of Wikepdia, (after a few failed attempts at Googling “fun beaver” and “beaver party” and “beaver fiesta”) taught me that beavers often roam far away from their home ponds to find their own living space, make sexy time with lady beavers and start their own families.

Learning this gave me comfort. The beaver having fun in the river was merely sowing his wild oats before finding a pond and a lady-beaver of his own. Then I became concerned for a different reason: will he adjust to life on his own? Will his mama miss him?

These are the things that keep me up at night.

Beaver Shots

Click on any photo to open a slideshow view.


What is your favorite animal? 

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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~

19 thoughts on “The Humble Beaver, (One Of) My Favorite Animals”

  1. I love this post Jeff! Perhaps it is the beaver population that loves inner city Calgary where they are quite safe from bears even if they do look like bacon wrapped filets. Fantastic photos. I have many shots of the gnawed off tree trunks left over from beaver fiestas but very few of the actual party goers.

  2. Great post and I loved the humour though the fat tourist brought back memories of a certain photo. Your life must be pretty good to have all these worries about beavers:)

  3. I agree! Beavers are awesome! Loved your perspective with this post. Humor and compassion – it doesn’t get much better than that!

  4. It makes my day to know someone was earnestly googling “beaver fiesta.”. Along with the images that brings to mind! Beautiful shots, you got so lucky to get that awesome picture of him playing, let alone witness it in the first place!

    • I was very lucky to see him and get that photo. The trail follows right along next to the river so I happened to be very close. It was probably a once in a lifetime event to see a beaver “rafting.”

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