How to Get Rid Of Beavers

47 min read| Updated for October, 2019

Beavers, the largest rodents in North America, are one of the largest in the world weighing around 40 pounds. The common phrase “busy as a beaver” is aptly coined in reference to this species’ industrious nature. They depend on a constant supply of felled trees for food, habitat, and to keep their steadily growing incisors filed down, which keeps them very busy.

While beavers were endangered at one time due to fur-hunters depleting them for their pelts in the 1800s, laws and regulations have been implemented that have allowed them to resurge. They are a stable species that is widely spread across North America.

While they serve some very important purposes to the ecosystems they inhabit, they can be considered a nuisance. The two most common problems associated with beavers are flooding and damage to trees.

In this article, you will find all of the information you need to make a decision about when and how to get rid of beavers that have become a pest on your property.

47 min read| Updated for October, 2019

TRACKS
HABITAT
Beavers can be found near fresh water, and live everywhere in North America except Florida, the Southwest and Northern Canada.
SOUNDS
Communicate through grunts, barks, grumbles and tail slaps.
SIZE
Approximately 3′ including the tail.
DIET
Tree bark, twigs, leaves, shrubs, ferns, aquatic plants, and grasses.

Beaver Sounds

Beavers are in fact very vocal and communicate with each other via grunts, barks, grumbles, and tail slaps. Tail slaps aside, it almost sounds like they are whining, but in a very beaverly way.

Identifying Animal Sounds

Beaver Tracks

Beavers have webbed hind legs and webbing between their five toes. Those hind legs are very powerful for swimming and long; they can easily be between four to seven inches in length and three to five inches in width. Their front paws almost reach out as wide as a human hand with five toes and a palm. Each toe, on front and hind, is tipped with sharp, sturdy claws. All beaver tracks will be accompanied by marks from the wide dragging of their tail.

Identifying Animal Tracks

Beaver Poop

Beaver poop is usually found in the water or in one of their intricate burrows, thus it’s very rare you’ll come across it. But if you do, look for small pellets around one and half inches to two and half inches. Anything visible will be hardened as beavers tend to re-ingest their droppings like rabbits do. If, by touching, it breaks apart with a sawdust-like appearance then it most likely belongs to a beaver.

Identifying Animal Poop

Identify


Physical Characteristics

You don’t have to get very close to a beaver to see its most distinguishing feature —its tail. Beavers have a broad, flat tail that is covered in leathery scales. It accounts for over a third of the animal’s total length at over a foot long and about six inches wide.

Beavers are also well known for their huge front incisors, which are essential for felling and eating trees. Large webbed back feet and a thick, double-layered coat are also common identifiers.

Common Species

There are two species of beavers—the North American beaver and the European beaver. As the name suggests, the North American beaver is the only one found in North America and is sometimes called the American beaver or Canadian beaver, though you’ve likely heard it referred to simply as “beaver.”

North American Beaver (Castor Canadensis)

  • Average weight is 40 pounds
  • Average length is three feet (including the tail)
  • Webbed hind feet
  • Broad, flat tail
  • Thick, waterproof fur
  • Closable nostrils and ears for swimming
  • Scent glands called castors secrete a musk-like substance called castoreum
  • Can stay underwater for 15 minutes at a time

The North American and European beavers look very similar with the most notable difference being their size —European beavers are slightly larger. Genetically they are quite different and are not compatible with one another.

Treating Your Property For Beavers

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

YARDGARD 308247B Hardware Cloth 24-Inch x 50-Foot, Silver
Heavy duty hot dipped galvanized hardware cloth; 23-gauge; galvanized; Size of garden cloth is 24-inches by 50-feet 1/4-inches mesh
$35.64

DIY Treatments

There are several concoctions you can make yourself that can be a very effective and cost-effective part of your combined strategy to get rid of beavers.

Paint Your Trees

The USDA has had some success in deterring beavers from trees by painting the trunks with a gritty paint concoction. The mixture consists of coarse mason’s sand and exterior latex paint – the ratio is 20 ounces of sand to one gallon of paint. You can also get paint that matches your trees so it is less obvious. It will wear quickly so be prepared to reapply often.

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce may work as a repellent when applied to specific vegetation. For example, it seems to repel them from cottonwood but not red cedar. Either way, it is an inexpensive and easy enough treatment if there are particularly precious trees and plants that you want to protect.

Beaver Problem?

Find a Local Wildlife
Expert Near You

 

Find a Local Experts

Beavers cannot survive without water, and so their habitats always occur in an area with a source of freshwater.

Common Locations

American beavers are a widespread species, occupying most regions of North America and Canada. The only areas where they are not found are the Florida peninsula, the Southwest, and in the northernmost parts of Canada.

It is important to note that beavers will not usually take up residence in your yard. They are fearful of people because they see us as predators. Beavers do eat some crops, like corn and soybeans, so may choose to locate themselves near a farm where there is plenty of land and little human activity. They may also be attracted to rural properties with an existing pond. Beavers cannot survive without water, and so their habitats always occur in an area with a source of freshwater.

Additionally, if you have the types of trees that they favor, which include aspens, willows, poplars, and maples, you may be even more susceptible. They don’t just fell trees to build dams and lodges (their homes are called lodges), they eat the leaves, bark, and roots of the trees as well.

Beavers are nocturnal and spend most of their time in and around the water’s edge. If beavers have created a lodge or dam on or near your property, they will not wander far from the water.

Beaver Sounds

Beavers are in fact very vocal and communicate with each other via grunts, barks, grumbles, and tail slaps. Tail slaps aside, it almost sounds like they are whining, but in a very beaverly way.

Identifying Animal Sounds

Beaver Tracks

Beavers have webbed hind legs and webbing between their five toes. Those hind legs are very powerful for swimming and long; they can easily be between four to seven inches in length and three to five inches in width. Their front paws almost reach out as wide as a human hand with five toes and a palm. Each toe, on front and hind, is tipped with sharp, sturdy claws. All beaver tracks will be accompanied by marks from the wide dragging of their tail.

Identifying Animal Tracks

Beaver Poop

Beaver poop is usually found in the water or in one of their intricate burrows, thus it’s very rare you’ll come across it. But if you do, look for small pellets around one and half inches to two and half inches. Anything visible will be hardened as beavers tend to re-ingest their droppings like rabbits do. If, by touching, it breaks apart with a sawdust-like appearance then it most likely belongs to a beaver.

Identifying Animal Poop

Inspect


Should I Relocate this Animal?

If there is a beaver on your property, carefully consider how much damage, if any, they are causing. It is important to weigh the effects of the animal staying against them leaving, which can also cause a cascading series of ecologically adverse effects.

Studies show that when beavers are removed, either by killing or trapping, they will be replaced by others who resettle into their habitat. Therefore, relocating them is not a long-term solution for you and will likely prove fatal for the animal while leading to a different problem.

It is also important to consider that if you remove the beavers, they will no longer maintain the dam. This will result in the loss of a vibrant habitat that is essential to a lot of different plants and animals and could also lead to environmental damage.

Compromise can create a mutually beneficial result for both you and the beaver. In most cases, it is reasonable to allow the beaver to stay and take steps to manage the specific problems they are creating. There are ways to solve many common issues, like flooding and tree loss, while allowing the animals to stay and maintain the pond. Don’t think of it as an all or nothing situation. It is possible to find a path of least resistance and most significant environmental benefit.

If you do decide to implement a plan to get rid of the animal, it is essential to contact your state wildlife agency first to make sure that you are within your rights to take action. In some states, beavers are endangered, and you may not be able to trap them or get rid of them by any means.

Removing a beaver in any capacity requires the help of a professional as live traps are dangerous and difficult to set. Call the Humane Society or local animal control for guidance before taking matters into your own hands. It is important to note that studies show that beavers rarely survive relocation and your state may also enforce mandatory euthanasia for a trapped beaver.

The best methods for controlling beaver populations is through a combination of prevention and exclusion.

Treating Your Property For Beavers

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

YARDGARD 308247B Hardware Cloth 24-Inch x 50-Foot, Silver
Heavy duty hot dipped galvanized hardware cloth; 23-gauge; galvanized; Size of garden cloth is 24-inches by 50-feet 1/4-inches mesh
$35.64

DIY Treatments

There are several concoctions you can make yourself that can be a very effective and cost-effective part of your combined strategy to get rid of beavers.

Paint Your Trees

The USDA has had some success in deterring beavers from trees by painting the trunks with a gritty paint concoction. The mixture consists of coarse mason’s sand and exterior latex paint – the ratio is 20 ounces of sand to one gallon of paint. You can also get paint that matches your trees so it is less obvious. It will wear quickly so be prepared to reapply often.

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce may work as a repellent when applied to specific vegetation. For example, it seems to repel them from cottonwood but not red cedar. Either way, it is an inexpensive and easy enough treatment if there are particularly precious trees and plants that you want to protect.

Beaver Problem?

Find a Local Wildlife
Expert Near You

 

Find a Local Experts

There are a number of tools that have been designed for the sole purpose of helping you deter and prevent further beaver damage.

Gather the Tools You’ll Need

Although trapping and lethal control may seem like the fastest, most effective way to control a beaver population, this is not the case. These are neither effective, humane, or environmentally friendly in most cases. Also, when beavers are threatened, they react by producing bigger litters. In reality, the best tools are patience and tolerance. Here are some additional tools you will need to gather before embarking on a multi-pronged effort to remove beavers in a humane, environmentally-conscious way:

Repellents

Try a combination of repellents. Some that have had some success include Deer Away Big Game Repellent and Plantskydd brands.

Fencing

Wire mesh fencing or electric wire can be used to surround larger areas and tree groves. Hardwire cloth can be used to protect the trunks of individual trees.

Deterrent Devices

There are a number of tools that have been designed for the sole purpose of helping you deter and prevent further beaver damage. Some of these patented products include The Clemson Leveler, The Beaver Deceiver, and CulverClear. You will need professional help installing any of these, and the one you choose depends on your specific situation. They can be cost-effective as well as humane solutions.

Motion-Activated Sound Maker

The most effective products combine sound and visual elements to scare the animals away.

Beavers are very cautious animals, so using a combination of sound and visual deterrents may be effective in scaring them off.

How-To Steps for DIY Removal

Beavers are determined and industrious creatures and getting them to leave an optimal habitat can be very tricky. The key is to employ a variety of methods until they give up and look for a different place to settle. Here is a list of steps you can take on your own to begin the process.

Step 1: Apply Repellents

While this is not a fail-proof method, there are repellents that you can apply at the first sign of damage that may get the ball rolling in making beavers feel less inclined to settle on your property. The key is to keep reapplying, especially in wet weather. Links to products that have shown some success can be found in the “Treatment” section.

Step 2: Control Water Levels

Create a notch in the existing dam and run the length of pipe through the hole. The beavers will attempt to fix the dam at the site of the notch but not at the ends of the pipes, thus allowing you to create the desired water level. This will foil their attempts to create their desired water levels, which may eventually drive them away. It will also prevent flooding if that is an issue.

Step 3: Clear Away Building Materials

Beavers depend on trees for food and to build their lodges and dams. Keep the site clean, clear away all loose building materials and wrap the existing trees so that they are unable to access them.

Step 4: Use a Frightening Device

Beavers are very cautious animals, so using a combination of sound and visual deterrents may be effective in scaring them off. These will only have a short-term effect but may get them to leave long enough for you to remove their structures and make further habitat modifications to exclude them.

Risks of Disease

Beavers can become infected with Tularemia, which is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to your pets through ticks, flies, and contaminated water. You are also at risk of infection if you drink contaminated water or allow an open cut to come into contact with the infected animal. Tularemia is fatal to animals but easily treatable in humans.

While it is not proven, humans may be susceptible to Giardia after drinking water that is contaminated with beaver feces. Beavers do defecate in the water, so ingesting water where they live should be avoided.

Beaver Sounds

Beavers are in fact very vocal and communicate with each other via grunts, barks, grumbles, and tail slaps. Tail slaps aside, it almost sounds like they are whining, but in a very beaverly way.

Identifying Animal Sounds

Beaver Tracks

Beavers have webbed hind legs and webbing between their five toes. Those hind legs are very powerful for swimming and long; they can easily be between four to seven inches in length and three to five inches in width. Their front paws almost reach out as wide as a human hand with five toes and a palm. Each toe, on front and hind, is tipped with sharp, sturdy claws. All beaver tracks will be accompanied by marks from the wide dragging of their tail.

Identifying Animal Tracks

Beaver Poop

Beaver poop is usually found in the water or in one of their intricate burrows, thus it’s very rare you’ll come across it. But if you do, look for small pellets around one and half inches to two and half inches. Anything visible will be hardened as beavers tend to re-ingest their droppings like rabbits do. If, by touching, it breaks apart with a sawdust-like appearance then it most likely belongs to a beaver.

Identifying Animal Poop

Prevent


Prevention Methods

The best way to avoid the possible conflicts that arise when you share a habitat with a beaver is to make it hard for them to live there in the first place. Here is a list of humane and effective ways to exclude beavers from your property and prevent them from coming back.

Choose Plants They Don’t Like

Beavers are strictly vegetarian, and there are certain plants that they favor over others. In the area of concern, these plants are not preferred: plant ninebark, twinberry, spruce, and elderberry.

Wrap Trees

Wrap trees with welded wire fencing, making sure that it is secured to the ground and is at least three feet high. Make sure trees are loosely wrapped, leaving at least six inches between the wire and the trunk.

Install a Fence

If you have a large group of trees or a grove, construct a fence to protect the entire area rather than wrapping individual trees. The wire mesh fence should be at least 3-4 feet tall and should extend at least 18 inches underground to prevent them from digging underneath.

Build a Drainage System

Install a drainage system that controls water levels and disallows beavers to alter the water flow effectively. There are products like pond levelers or beaver deceivers that you may want to consider.

Treating Your Property For Beavers

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

YARDGARD 308247B Hardware Cloth 24-Inch x 50-Foot, Silver
Heavy duty hot dipped galvanized hardware cloth; 23-gauge; galvanized; Size of garden cloth is 24-inches by 50-feet 1/4-inches mesh
$35.64

DIY Treatments

There are several concoctions you can make yourself that can be a very effective and cost-effective part of your combined strategy to get rid of beavers.

Paint Your Trees

The USDA has had some success in deterring beavers from trees by painting the trunks with a gritty paint concoction. The mixture consists of coarse mason’s sand and exterior latex paint – the ratio is 20 ounces of sand to one gallon of paint. You can also get paint that matches your trees so it is less obvious. It will wear quickly so be prepared to reapply often.

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce may work as a repellent when applied to specific vegetation. For example, it seems to repel them from cottonwood but not red cedar. Either way, it is an inexpensive and easy enough treatment if there are particularly precious trees and plants that you want to protect.

Beaver Problem?

Find a Local Wildlife
Expert Near You

 

Find a Local Experts

Beaver Sounds

Beavers are in fact very vocal and communicate with each other via grunts, barks, grumbles, and tail slaps. Tail slaps aside, it almost sounds like they are whining, but in a very beaverly way.

Identifying Animal Sounds

Beaver Tracks

Beavers have webbed hind legs and webbing between their five toes. Those hind legs are very powerful for swimming and long; they can easily be between four to seven inches in length and three to five inches in width. Their front paws almost reach out as wide as a human hand with five toes and a palm. Each toe, on front and hind, is tipped with sharp, sturdy claws. All beaver tracks will be accompanied by marks from the wide dragging of their tail.

Identifying Animal Tracks

Beaver Poop

Beaver poop is usually found in the water or in one of their intricate burrows, thus it’s very rare you’ll come across it. But if you do, look for small pellets around one and half inches to two and half inches. Anything visible will be hardened as beavers tend to re-ingest their droppings like rabbits do. If, by touching, it breaks apart with a sawdust-like appearance then it most likely belongs to a beaver.

Identifying Animal Poop

When to Call a Professional


Trying to eliminate beavers by yourself can be very tricky and may result in frustration and a lot of expense. If you have a serious conflict that needs to be resolved, it is best to contact a local specialist. They can assess your specific situation and help you with humane, environmentally-friendly strategies.

If you do decide to resort to trapping, you will want to reach out to a professional. Live traps for beavers are both heavy and dangerous, so it is in your best interest to get someone to help you. They are also very difficult to trap, so you can avoid frustration and mistakes by referring to a professional.

Also, beavers are defensive creatures and will attack if cornered. Never approach a beaver that is not trapped. If you do have an incident with one that results in a bite or scratch, seek medical help immediately.

Sources

https://www.livescience.com/52460-beavers.html
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/wildlife_damage/content/printable_version/fs_beaver.pdf
http://www.wildlife-removal.com/beaver-get-rid.html
http://wildliferemovalusa.com/beaver-how-to.html
https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/beavers.html
http://www.beaversww.org/solving-problems/
http://www.havahart.com/how-to-get-rid-of-beavers
http://www.wildlifeanimalcontrol.com/beaverkeepaway.html
https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/what-do-about-beavers
http://www.beaverdeceivers.com/remedies.html
https://www.beaversolutions.com/beaver-facts-education/frequently-asked-questions/
https://www.uaex.edu/publications/PDF/FSA-9085.pdf
https://stoppestinfo.com/418-how-to-get-rid-of-beavers.html#get
http://www.ecochoicepestcontrol.ca/how-to-get-rid-of-beavers.html

Treating Your Property For Beavers

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

Beavers do have a natural fear of humans, but their work ethic seems to trump all. They are very territorial and determined, so your best efforts at chasing them away should employ every obstacle and deterrent suggested. Eliminating their food and building supplies is a vital part of your strategy, so be as thorough, strategic, and tireless as the beavers themselves, and you may find success. The following treatment products can be purchased on Amazon.com and will help you in implementing some of the strategies listed previously.

YARDGARD 308247B Hardware Cloth 24-Inch x 50-Foot, Silver
Heavy duty hot dipped galvanized hardware cloth; 23-gauge; galvanized; Size of garden cloth is 24-inches by 50-feet 1/4-inches mesh
$35.64

DIY Treatments

There are several concoctions you can make yourself that can be a very effective and cost-effective part of your combined strategy to get rid of beavers.

Paint Your Trees

The USDA has had some success in deterring beavers from trees by painting the trunks with a gritty paint concoction. The mixture consists of coarse mason’s sand and exterior latex paint – the ratio is 20 ounces of sand to one gallon of paint. You can also get paint that matches your trees so it is less obvious. It will wear quickly so be prepared to reapply often.

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce may work as a repellent when applied to specific vegetation. For example, it seems to repel them from cottonwood but not red cedar. Either way, it is an inexpensive and easy enough treatment if there are particularly precious trees and plants that you want to protect.

Beaver Problem?

Find a Local Wildlife
Expert Near You

 

Find a Local Experts

Sources

https://arattlinblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/beaver-fact-of-the-week-beavers-are-vocal/
https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/beavers.html
https://goneoutdoors.com/id-beaver-poop-2155859.html

Beaver Sounds

Beavers are in fact very vocal and communicate with each other via grunts, barks, grumbles, and tail slaps. Tail slaps aside, it almost sounds like they are whining, but in a very beaverly way.

Identifying Animal Sounds

Beaver Tracks

Beavers have webbed hind legs and webbing between their five toes. Those hind legs are very powerful for swimming and long; they can easily be between four to seven inches in length and three to five inches in width. Their front paws almost reach out as wide as a human hand with five toes and a palm. Each toe, on front and hind, is tipped with sharp, sturdy claws. All beaver tracks will be accompanied by marks from the wide dragging of their tail.

Identifying Animal Tracks

Beaver Poop

Beaver poop is usually found in the water or in one of their intricate burrows, thus it’s very rare you’ll come across it. But if you do, look for small pellets around one and half inches to two and half inches. Anything visible will be hardened as beavers tend to re-ingest their droppings like rabbits do. If, by touching, it breaks apart with a sawdust-like appearance then it most likely belongs to a beaver.

Identifying Animal Poop

Beaver Problem?

Find a Local Wildlife
Expert Near You

 

Find a Local Experts