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Beaver

The beaver (Castor canadensis) is Florida's largest rodent, normally weighing 30-50 pounds.  The fur is brown, with a dense grayish underfur.  The back feet are webbed for swimming and the broad flat tail is used as a rudder, a propeller, or may be slapped on the water as a warning.  The beaver occurs in North Florida, about as far south as the mouth of the Suwannee River. Beavers are active at night, and can live on streams, swamps, or lakes having a suitable supply of trees for food.   They may cut down trees up to a foot in diameter, and eat the inner bark, twigs, and buds.    They will also transport limbs for building a lodge, where they live as a pair, with their offspring from two breeding seasons.

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In northern Florida beaver dams may block drainage systems and flood roads, crops, and timberland. Hungry beavers occasionally chew down ornamental trees and venture into fields to feed on crops like sorghum and corn.  Wire or hardware cloth fencing at least 3.5ft (1.2 m) high may prevent damage of valuable trees.    Daily destruction of dams and removal of dam building materials sometimes will cause a beaver colony to abandon an area.  The insertion of water control structures into existing beaver dams can be effective at preventing excessive flooding.    Problems beavers may be trapped and relocated but permits from the FWC are required from the regional office.

More information

Florida Wildlife Resources Handbook life history and control information

Beaver control information from Alabama

Non-lethal beaver control information from "Best of Web guide"

Beaver information from British Columbia, includes tracks

Illinois information

University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension (.pdf)