There’s a new kid in town. Mr. Nibbles, AKA Chainsaw, moved to Adkins Arboretum last spring. He’s slick, sly, and well groomed. He’s also a beaver.
Beavers are motivated to build their dams by the sound of running water. In Mr. Nibbles’ case, that running water flows through a drainage system connecting our wetland to the Lower Blockston Branch. Damming this area has, in part, been responsible for elevating the water level.
In the past, similar attempts by beavers to transform the wetland were met with relocation strategies that led to tragic, unintended beaver fatalities. Under current leadership, and with the help of a motivated Chesapeake Bay Trust intern, measures are now being taken to protect the interests of both Mr. Nibbles and the Arboretum.
A few beaver facts:
- Well-known for their industrious nature, beavers also have the dubious honor of being the largest rodents in North America.
- The sound of running water dictates when and where a beaver builds its dam.
- Dams are built with bark, sticks, and mud to change the course of streams and create ponds.
- Lodges contain a nesting chamber and a chamber for sleeping, eating, and grooming.
- Bedding is changed regularly
- A ventilation shaft can be found in the top of the lodge.
- A dam includes at least two water-filled tunnels for entering and exiting underwater.
Stay tuned for future updates on the progress of beaver mediation at Adkins Arboretum. To see Mr. Nibbles, visit the Arboretum’s wetland at dusk, when he is most likely to be active.
By Jenny Houghton
Photo of Mr. Nibbles by CBT Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer