Beaver and Mink

When it rains, it pours.  I was walking this morning, only just having seen the muskrat yesterday when I saw the handiwork in this photo.  On the other side of the path was a sapling that had been dragged halfway down to the river but had been left behind.

Chewed trees, probably by a beaver

American Mink

As I continued along, I heard a crying, squeaking sound coming from a runoff drain below a walking bridge.  I stopped to see if I could find out what was making it.  In a minute, the sounds stopped and two animals emerged and swam upstream, towards Fairy Lake.  They looked exactly like small otters, about 2 feet long, about 1/3 to 1/2 of which was tail, which makes me think they are American mink (Neovison vison).  Since they are predatory carnivores, I have the nasty feeling they surprised something in that hole and killed it.

Beaver Sighting

Further along the path, I saw some ripples emanating from the bank so I stopped and looked around.  I saw what must have been a North American beaver ( Castor canadensis ) swimming along with some greenery in its mouth.  I wasn’t completely certain until I ran ahead along the path to see it better, and saw a muskrat swimming along on the far side.  The beaver came into view and was about 4x as large as the muskrat.

I’m still not 100% sure – I only had my phone and the photos I took are not clear – but the size difference was so significant.  It will probably take sitting down on the riverbank early one morning to see if I can capture it with a proper camera.

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