Beavers are the most amazing creatures. Most people don't realize that these industrious animals are actually rodents. In fact they are the second-largest rodent in the world, right behind the capybara of South America. My brother Bud, who lives in Alberta, Canada, recently sent me this awesome video of a beaver family rebuilding their home near Calgary after a period of Chinook winds had warmed temperatures, which cause ice to melt and collapse, which wiped out their previous home.
Image via Wikipedia
One man, Brian Keating, an adjunct assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Calgary, noticed the beavers outside his home along the Bow River and went out to film them as they hustled to make use of the short period of "warm" weather to repair and rebuild their lodge. He managed to lie across the lodge as he filmed without bothering the little critters. The video even shows the juvenile beaver getting in the adults way as they hurry to finish before another round of cold weather puts a stop to their efforts.
The beavers get so into their task at hand that Keating even catches them walking upright with their arms full of sticks. While the adults don't mind their human audience, the baby gets a little flustered when he notices the Keating aiming at him, accidentally slaps himself in the face with his tail, and dives for cover at one point.
Keating has spent many years promoting the understanding of nature and has led many nature-based group tours. With all of the animals he has been able to photograph and interact with, he describes his time filming this beaver family as "the best beaver experience of my life." He also stated that watching them was like "being in a Calgary construction zone."
Image via Wikipedia
The beaver is Canada's national animal (and one of my spirit animals, it's a long story), and is best known for its broad, flat tail and its ability to construct dams and lodges out of trees and branches it cuts with its teeth. Beavers are vegetarians, and contrary to popular belief they do not eat fish. They are considered a "keystone" species since their efforts help create wetlands that support many other species and animals.
Believe it or not, during the 17th century the Roman Catholic Church ruled that a beaver was a fish and could therefore be eaten on Fridays. This decision also applied to other semi-aquatic rodents such as capybaras and muskrats. The name Beverly is also attributed to beavers and means "beaver clearing." I like the name Beverly so much more now.