A little beaver with a big attitude

By Kate MacNeil, Education Coordinator,
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre – www.wildlifeinfo.ca
Photo by Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
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Beaver, click to enlargeAlthough we no longer do wildlife rehabilitation, the animals we have cared for over the years are never far from our minds. We hope by sharing their stories, you will come to have a new appreciation for local wildlife and the rich biodiversity we enjoy in this region.

No bigger than a minute, this little bundle of attitude arrived at the Centre covered with punctures, likely mauled by a dog. This was my first look at a baby beaver, and there are no words to describe how delightful this little creature was. An immediate vet trip was in order, where his wounds were treated. They were not as bad as we had thought but he did end up with a very bad haircut! With some antibiotics and care he would be just fine.

Little beaver seemed to be running the show from the get go. All other animals at the Centre had a feeding schedule, when it was feeding time they ate. Well not little beaver! I took him home for late night feedings. I would try him at 11:00 pm – not hungry; 12:30 am, nope not yet; 1:30 am eureka –he ate. I quickly realized little beaver’s feeding schedule was “whenever little beaver wanted to eat!” I now joke that this was good practice for motherhood.

Next came his post dinner swim. Sometimes he would splash and play, other times he would just enjoy a leisurely swim. When he was finished he would put his tiny paws on the edge of the plastic tub, look over at me and let out a little whistle. It reminded me of a little bell you would ring for the butler to come. He never let us forget who was in charge.

After all of his hard work came a well-deserved rest. Sometimes he would even fall asleep in my arms while I was drying him off. What a wonderful gift it was to sit and hold this little bundle of fluff with the soft webbed feet.

After a month little beaver was feeling much better, even his funny haircut was starting to grow out. This meant he got to go to another facility to be raised with other beavers. I was a bit worried about how little beaver would adjust to his new environment. Who was I kidding, this little bundle of attitude did just fine. We got updates on his care and he was successfully released back into the wild.

Remember, this is the wildlife birthing season – check out the website www.wildlifeinfo.ca before taking any action as well as for tips on coexisting with beavers.

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