Thursday, May 10, 2018

Just For the Fun of It: A Beaver on the Shores of Lake Washington

I got one of those childhood wishes at long last tonight. I've never seen a beaver up close. That might seem odd, given the time I spend on rivers all over the American West. But I've never had a chance to watch and photograph one.
I saw evidence of beavers along the Tuolumne River several months ago, but I have yet to see one of them. I'd love to say that I saw this one along my river, but I'm currently a long way from home. I saw this beaver along the shores of Lake Washington near Seattle.

The North American Beaver was once common across the American West until a mania for beavers pelt hats in Europe fueled a massacre that nearly drove them extinct. They are reclaiming much of their lost territory in recent years, including along the shores of Lake Washington, to the misery in some cases of owners of carefully landscaped villas along the lake shore.

If today's beavers are sometimes a nuisance, imagine what they were like during the Pleistocene. A species, Castoroides, once ranged across North America that was as much as seven feet long. They went extinct around 11,000 years ago.

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