How to get rid of beavers? (Humanely)
Destructive beavers are hazards to your ponds and trees. Unable to keep their teeth off of the marine life and wood, beavers can become annoying intruders.
But, we don’t want to kill beavers; even the state doesn’t permit it!
Let’s embark on the journey of a humane beaver-control plan.
We should not forget about the ecological importance of beavers. Beavers are known as ‘ecosystem engineers’ that habituate both land and water bodies making them favorable for living.
Additionally, a 2018 research study reveals that beaver ponds are helpful in mitigating the impacts of soil erosion and pollution from the agricultural landscapes.
Therefore, it’s always better to repel beavers from your property or relocate them rather than hunting down the endangered species.
To ease your trouble, this beaver control guide will help you repel beavers efficiently, keep reading:
Identifying a Beaver Presence in Your Surroundings:
How do you know if beavers are on your property?
Beavers, like most rodents, are nocturnal, leaving behind traces of their destructive activities.
Beavers cut trees and remove bark with their sharp teeth. So, if you see signs of tree destruction, lake or pond damming, prepare to set your traps.
6 Ways to Get Rid of Beavers:
Here’s what you can do if you think the destructive critters are sneaking around on your property:
- Try Beaver Repellents and Deterrents:
The first step to any rodent removal is applying repellents on the vegetation in your yard. However, studies by the National Wildlife Research Center reveal that beaver repellents have a short-term effect on beaver control. Therefore, it should be reapplied often.
Unfortunately, when nothing is left to eat for the beaver, he wouldn’t mind eating a few repellent-treated plants.
Repellents prepared with natural ingredients such as hot sauce work perfectly. The repellent works great for cottonwood but is useless for red cedar.
Alternatively, a few chemical repellents can work effectively. For that, you need to determine how much quantity is necessary for shrubs and trees.
As for the deterrents, you can try strobe lights, sirens, and even propane cannons.
Beavers are cautious, nocturnal animals. Therefore, the critters become cautious when visual and audible deterrents are used together. Bear in mind animals can get used to these tricks.
Beavers are instinctively attracted to the trickling sounds of water. This compels them to dam it up.
As per the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, there was a need for a non-lethal approach to ward off beavers from ponds. This led to setting up exclusion fences.
Fencing is a workable solution if you have a pond with marine life in it. Fencing is a surefire way to keep your pond fish safe because beavers are not climbers. It also prevents them from damming up in ponds. Set up a wired fence of about six feet to keep the critters out.
You can also set up a drainage system to make the dam/pond water leak, making the progress of beavers difficult.
- Fence Around Trees and Branches:
Tree barks provide beavers with construction materials.
If you fence up the trees, shrubs, and branches, or the entire yard area with mesh wire, it would be difficult for them to build dams. Also, clear up the surrounding area of any fallen branches. They will eventually move on due to the non-availability of construction materials.
This is an environment-friendly way to keep the beavers away without causing harm. However, this cannot be a considerable option for wider areas, especially if the beavers have already habituated the place.
- Electric Fencing:
For larger areas, electric fencing is a highly effective solution to repel beavers. High-tensile electric wires can be erected to about 4 inches above ground level.
The wires deliver a mild shock to beavers in their nose or head region as they approach the vegetation for construction material or damming. It needs to be done very professionally.
Also, the electric supply should be checked regularly to ensure beavers are constantly repelled from the area.
In terms of maintenance, you need to remove any fallen limbs near the wire or weeds, or grass growing beneath it. If they come in contact, there is a chance of a short circuit and fire.
So, this is a tricky method requiring maintenance for protecting the lands of armers from beaver intrusion.
- Set Up the Traps:
First, find out how many beavers regularly visit your property. Because buying a bunch of traps when there are only two or three of them is wasteful. Then, set a clamshell trap near the area they are habituating. Clamshells are effective traps to secure the beavers well after they are caught.
If you are unfamiliar with beaver traps, learn about the different traps available and how to set them up without causing any harm to the beavers. This is a necessary step for non-lethal trapping. Beavers may not appear dangerous but it is better to approach them only when they are caught. Otherwise, there is a greater chance for them to attack and hurt you.
Exclusion refers to methods of making the habitat inhospitable for beavers. Now that you have relocated the beavers, you should destroy their previous dwellings. Also, hide away the material they had used. This is important to discourage them from returning.
Sometimes, the trick works well in the first go. But, a stubborn beaver may return to rebuild.
Therefore, continue to destroy their dams, remove the materials, spray a few repellents and utilize deterrents. They will eventually get the idea of how useless it is to build up dams in your area.
No matter what, beavers are ecosystem engineers and they deserve to live. Considering they are an endangered species, it is important not to harm them but to scare or repel them away from your property.
How to Trap and Relocate a Beaver?
‘Nuisance’ beavers, the natives of North America, often come in conflict with farmers and residents living near bodies of water.
Beavers have an addiction to building dams that pool up the water of streams and lakes. Basically, it’s their natural, innate behavior.
Sometimes, this can lead to unwanted floods and destruction of vegetation.
In several cases, nuisance beavers are hunted and killed for their actions, which is illegal, especially where the beaver population is extinct.
Therefore, it’s necessary to eliminate beavers in a humane way.
Ecological Importance of Beaver Behavior:
It may appear annoying to us when beavers destroy our vegetation, but they do it for a healthy wetland and forest ecosystem.
By building lodges and dams, beavers prove themselves as ecosystem engineers because they are the reason behind increasing water levels, slowing down water flow, and changing water direction. This improves water quality and diversity in the wetlands.
Therefore, if you wish to relocate beavers, you should look for a suitable habitat that has sufficient food and shelter.
Locate the Beaver Activity:
Before setting up traps, become aware of where the beavers habituate and the amount of damage they are causing. Knowing the places they frequent, you can target specific areas for trapping.
Damming can increase the chances of flooding nearby fields via irrigation systems. Therefore, identify them before time runs out.
Commonly, beaver activity is identified from pathways, beaver lodges, cut-down trees, beaver dams, and flooding.
Initial steps should be based on non-lethal methods of beaver removal. Often, trapping is not considered humane in a lot of ways.
Problems with Beaver Trapping:
Live trapping turns out to be the last resort when all else fails. Especially in the case of large vegetation areas, fencing isn’t a workable solution.
Live traps should be set up quite strategically and monitored regularly.
Sometimes, trapped beavers or other species can die due to stress or hypothermia after being caged for too long.
Unfortunately, many of the available beaver traps are lethal and can kill beavers inhumanely.
Conibear traps, foothold traps, and snares are inhumane beaver traps. Conibear traps are most commonly used as fast beaver traps.
Conibear traps are deadly. They can cause an instant kill by snapping the trapped animal’s neck.
Studies reveal that fewer than 15% of animals trapped die on the spot while over 40% of the animals die an inhumane and painful death, crushing their heads or sometimes abdomen.
Moreover, the Conibear trap is non-selective; so it can catch raccoons, eagles, or dogs instead of beavers.
Even children and pets get injured by the traps. And as it is difficult to open the trap, often pets die trapped due to the failure of the owner to release it.
Live trapping and relocating without harm requires professional help.
Consequences of Relocating Beavers:
Relocating beavers can have several consequences for the beavers:
Even if they are relocated, they will become a nuisance for the new surrounding populations. If other beavers are already residing in the new place, survival conflict can arise. This may lead to the killing of the beaver as well.
Moreover, in most Canadian states, relocation can only be done for up to 1 km from the main site. This makes it easier for the beaver to return to the original location.
Young beavers are dependent on their parents for survival. If the parent beaver is relocated, the orphan beaver’s survival is extremely compromised. You may have to look for a rehabilitation center to make the little ones’ survival possible.
Is Lethal Trapping an Ultimate Solution?
In simple words, neither is it legal nor is it a permanent solution. Beaver lethal trapping is not permissible in places where beavers are endangered.
Moreover, the inhumane killing of ecosystem engineers is unethical. The furry animals are only doing what they are born to do, intending no harm to humans.
Furthermore, killing is not a permanent solution. When the previous beaver leaves a space, another beaver will find the habitat suitable and make it its new home.
For beaver removal, some people go to the extreme extent of breaking up the entire beaver dam. But, the beavers are quite stubborn and hardworking. They will start building it up again.
A Few Dos and Don’ts of Beaver Control:
- Do implement all the possible non-lethal options before deciding to trap and relocate beavers. Trapping can get expensive and even be lethal for beavers.
- Do consider how much trouble the beaver is really creating. If it’s limited to a small pond or lake away from your space, let it be. However, discourage their intrusion into your space the first time they appear on your property.
- Do acknowledge the educational, ecological, and recreational benefits they are offering to our environment.
- Do implement more than one method of beaver removal together and be consistent in destroying their dams in your ponds/streams until they give up.
- Do seek professional help for beaver management if you cannot handle it on your own.
- Don’t use lethal traps or inhumane methods of killing beavers.
- Don’t relocate beavers in unknown, non-vegetated places where their survival is challenged. In fact, relocation can put the animals under stress and can lead to their death.
What Can You Do to Trap and Relocate Beavers Safely?
The most workable solution is seeking professional help for safe trapping of beavers. Afterward, they need to be relocated to a place with an ample amount of vegetation and water. Make sure the weather conditions are sustainable for beavers as well.
Let them freely continue their job in the new habitat. Relocating beavers, by no means, refers to making them compete for their survival in unknown lands.
On the contrary, if you think you can tolerate a little beaver nuisance in your vicinity, let them continue to be by your side.