Thursday, April 18, 2019

International Beaver Day!


April 7 is International Beaver Day, a day aimed at celebrating and raising awareness of these furry, dam-building rodents. (Bet you didn’t know that!)
Photo Credit: Michael S. Quinton National Geographic
I swear I’m not quoting my BeaverSav protesters, but beavers really are remarkable creatures. (BeaverSav is a completely made-up organization protesting the destruction of beaver habitat by the archeologists in The Body in the Beaver Pond. I might’ve had a bit of fun with one of the protestors in the story, but they really are dedicated to restoring the beaver’s habitat.) 
Anyway, given a chance, beavers could serve an important role in solving many of our planet’s major environmental problems. Their dams help create one of the Earth’s best life support systems. The dams flood the land upstream of the dam, restoring wildlife habitats for a number of species, protecting and filtering our drinking water, storing flood waters to reduce property damage, and maintaining surface water flow during drought periods.
Sadly, beaver numbers declined—the current population is roughly 10% of what it was before European settlers moved in—and the majority of wetlands were drained, disconnecting waterways from their floodplains. Eventually, rivers became more like canals—or sewers—contributing to our current problems with water pollution, erosion, and escalating damage from regional floods and droughts. 
Really bad photo by Cathy Perkins
Beavers have made a remarkable comeback over the last century. I can personally attest to several families in our neck of the woods. They keep trying to turn our river and its side streams into a giant wetland, but the river floods every spring, sweeping the dams away. Industrious critters, the beavers simply gnaw down more trees and start over.
Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife or BWW (a for-real group dedicated to protecting the species) declared April 7 International Beaver Day to honor Dorothy Richards, also known as the “Beaver Woman,” whose birthday fell on that day. Before her death in 1985, Richards studied beavers for fifty years, had two consecutive beaver families living in an addition to her house (that might be taking your passion a bit far) and wrote a book called Beaversprite: My Years Building an Animal Sanctuary.
Okay, she kinda mighta been the inspiration for the woman from BeaverSav, but I’m sure Ms Richards is much more fun to hang out with.
To celebrate International Beaver Day, here are seven facts about these industrious rodents provided by globalanimal.org:
1. Beavers can stay underwater for 15 minutes without coming up for air.

2. The beaver is Canada’s biggest rodent and the second-largest on the planet.

3. Beavers’ transparent eyelids work like goggles, by protecting their eyeballs as they swim underwater.

4. The beaver has been Canada’s national symbol for more than 300 years.

5. Beavers’ ear openings and nostrils have valves that can be closed when underwater.

6. The world’s largest beaver dam is 850 meters long and located in Wood Buffalo National Park.

7. Beavers sharpen their incisors (teeth) by grinding them against one another.


Ever see a beaver where you live? 


An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.  Visit her at http://cperkinswrites.com or on Facebook 

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She's hard at work on sequel to The Body in the Beaver Pond, which was recently presented with the Claymore Award.
 

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