The Cottager’s Guide to Beavers

Once classified as a fish due to its scaly tail, the beaver is in fact Canada’s most iconic rodent, being a national symbol and having a place on our nickel. The beaver also has an unmatched biological role in Canadian aquatic ecosystems. It is an ingenious ecosystem engineer that shapes the unique rural environment that Canadians take pride in. In addition, beavers ensure productive ecosystem functioning, which creates and upholds the natural beauty and species diversity of southern Ontario. The integrity of aquatic habitats is upheld through the enhanced growth of aquatic vegetation, which prevents erosion and acts as a buffer in the face of contamination. Beavers also provide ideal habitats for numerous charismatic bird, mammal and fish species. These include wild turkey, songbirds, deer, moose, mink and bass. Not only are these animals captivating, but they provide recreation for birdwatchers, fishers and hunters alike.

Although beavers seem to be in control of the environment in which they live, they are still highly sensitive to human interference and as such, habitat degradation has become a major player in beaver mortality. This will have both short and long-term effects that will ripple through the Canadian wilderness and encompass numerous other species.

You may be wondering how you can deal with your beaver woes without resorting to lethal actions that would contribute to the loss of this important keystone species. To deal with beavers that are destroying personal property, an effective strategy is to protect trees using rigid welded wire fencing with 4-inch mesh and a height of at least one meter. Textual repellents like outdoor latex paint mixed with coarse sand are also effective. In situations in which beaver relocation is the preferred strategy, the beaver baffler may be the tool of choice. If property flooding is your main concern, the Clemson Beaver Pond Leveler would be an effective solution. For more information on humane and cost effective ways to deal with beavers as well as specific instructions on how to build the devices listed above, please visit our blog at

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