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A Beaver’s Winter Quarters

2-1-17-beaver-lodge-interior-img_4899What exactly is it like inside an active beaver lodge in winter? It’s dark, damp and around 32°F. The living chamber inside usually has a ceiling no more than two feet high with a diameter of 4 to 6 feet, depending on the number of individuals in the family. (A typical beaver family is composed of an adult male and female, 2 to 3 yearlings, and 2- 4 kits that were born in the spring.) Fresh air enters and carbon dioxide leaves through a central vent (where mud is not applied) and through small holes that remain under logs on the side of the lodge. When there isn’t much snow and the outside air falls well below zero, the temperature inside may drop to a degree or two below freezing, but if the sun is out, it warms right back up again during the day.

The dampness is due to the beavers’ repeated need to enter the water both to retrieve sticks from their nearby food supply pile and to defecate. Upon returning to the lodge, the humidity inside increases due to the water draining from the beavers’ fur. No small wonder that if a January thaw permits, beavers will exit their pond for some fresh air, food and a little bit of sunshine.

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7 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Just a hunch, Mary, that you have quite an affinity for beavers 😍 They are very interesting!

    February 1, 2017 at 8:25 am

    • No doubt about it, Alice. They are very high on my list — would have to be for me to crawl into a lodge!

      February 1, 2017 at 8:51 am

  2. Penny March

    What time of year was the picture taken? Bedding seems dry, so would guess summer…or they had another lodge.

    February 1, 2017 at 9:59 am

    • Pat

      That was my first question too, Penny! I wondered if she had a camera like surgeons do to drop into the cavity!

      February 1, 2017 at 11:10 am

  3. Kathie Fiveash

    I once crawled into a bank lodge that had been left high and dry when water levels fell dramatically in the Quabbin Reservoir. It was a VERY tight, uncomfortable squeeze and I had both arms extended in front of me with a flashlight, wiggling like a worm through the sharp sticks. It looked just like what you show, and boy, was I glad to get out. How did you get in, Mary?

    February 1, 2017 at 10:03 am

    • For all interested, my experience was much like Kathie’s. It was an abandoned lodge in a dried up beaver pond, in the summer. I crawled in on my belly. Very tight quarters. Anyone with any claustrophobia would not be a happy camper in a beaver lodge!

      February 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm

  4. Alice Pratt

    Beavers will go back in a lodge, if they smell human scent? How does one know that when you go in a lodge, you might meet some Beavers? 😮

    February 1, 2017 at 12:17 pm

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