Are beavers dangerous?

Are beavers dangerous?

OK, OK, go ahead and post some off-color jokes about beavers. Get it out of your system. But this is a serious question. I was solo kayak camping on an island on the Susquehanna River last night, just about 2 miles north of the city, on an island where I’ve camped before, in the middle of the mile-wide river. After a quiet, peaceful time watching the sunset, I got into my hammock to sleep. Within a few minutes, I began to hear periodic loud splashes and slapping sounds on the water, just a few feet out from the shoreline. My hammock was hanging just a foot or two from the shoreline. There was enough moonlight for me to see a beaver swimming along the shore, periodically slapping his tail and flipping around in the water. At first I thought he had found some tasty things to eat along the shore, and I didn’t think much about it. But it kept up. Then, things went silent for a while, and just as I was almost 100 percent asleep, I heard a sort of throaty hissing sound, about 2 feet from my hammock, inland. I sat up in the hammock, and immediately the creature that made the hissing sound charged me. Thank heavens I was hanging in my hammock, and not on the ground in a bivvy. The little devil charged under my hammock, and to my frightened ears he was making as much sound as a stampede of buffalo. He did a cannonball belly-flop into the water and thrashed his tail to slap the water like crazy. Did I crap my pants? No. But it was a close call. Following this display of aggression, he would periodically swim along the shore line and slap his tail in the water. Eventually, sleep took over, and I’m not sure how late he continued his thrashing, but I think it was after midnight by the time I fell asleep.

The island I was on didn’t have a channel down the middle, which is the typical type of island landscape where I usually see beavers on the Susquehanna. There were no big stacked up logs. There were a few stumps from trees that were clearly felled by a beaver. But I was on a flat section of shoreline, and I saw no indications that I was in a beaver’s sovereign territory. It seemed like a good campsite that wouldn’t be disturbing wildlife. But I got that beaver pretty angry. He wanted to kill me.

So, question. Are beavers dangerous? Did I witness typical but harmless territorial aggression? Or was this guy a real menace? Rabid? When I’ve seen beavers before, they were usually shy and elusive. OK, more openings for jokes here, so fire away. But seriously, should I take this island off my camping list? How does one ward off a marauding beaver?

I’ve been wading in

– Last Updated: May-11-11 11:31 AM EST –

the susquehanna and had one swim right past me, within 5'. He didn't seem to care in the least about me. Perhaps you were too close to its den and it had little ones. In any case I wouldn't want to get bitten by one. Oh and in case your concerned that a beaver may be harmful to you, wear a condom.

Iffin’ it be Larry Mathers wit…

– Last Updated: May-11-11 1:59 PM EST –

baseball bat an' livin' in Hudson County, New Joisey....

yer better believe it!

(Opps! Ah' meant Jerry Mathers. Larry Mondello ratted on de "Beav" ta de Feds an' wuz found las' "June" wit a "cleaver" through de head, a pearl necklace wrapped around his'ems "lumpy" neckbone (maybe ta "ward" off evil spirits) an' waarin' concrete high heels on de bottom o' Newark Bay. Waan questioned by de authorities Mr. Cleaver's poysonal adviser, Edward Haskell,esq took de 5th, but complimented de FBI agents about how nice dem's black suits looked)


You couldn’t leave it, could you ?

Just don’t
wake up with wood

Beaver aren’t dangerous to anything except other beaver. They slap their tail outside of your camp because they can smell you (they have excellent senses of smell and hearing). The tail slap is to get you to get up and take a look so that they can figure out what you are. They do not have particularly good vision.

Beaver are vegetarians. They are highly territorial and will attack intruding non-related beaver if necessary. They will not confuse you for a beaver.

Watch for scent mounds when you are in beaver country. They pile up mud, anything from a splash of mud on a grass hummock to an 18 inch high cone and then

spray a musk oil (castoreum) from glands near their anus (it’s a rather pleasant odor). Scent mounds are territorial markers. Also watch for beaver drags (the trails they leave when they drag branches to the waters edge) and collections of pealed branches.

sorry, but i am laughing. Maybe i might get startled, yeah maybe, but scared of an animal, no, esp ones smaller than us. Yeah, the other post was pretty on with maybe you were to close to something personal, but you can face down a bear if done right, don’t be scared of the beaver, it wont hurt you,unless of course it was rabid ;)… next time make some niose back, or just move your hammock a bit farther in…

Be grateful the beaver did not cut down the tree’s your hammock was hanging from!

thats what ive been seeing
i kinda thought they was beavers now i know for sure that dang splash they make sound like a mountain fell in the water they are all over down here

Beavers always been good to me.

Put yourself in an animal’s position…
I bet that if something 10x your height came lumbering towards you in a threatening manner…you’d get defensive as well. Often it’s best to back off slowly to a lengthy distance if possible, or just don’t make moves as if you’re about to pounce upon it.

only if they are oozing pus!
Ok, now that is out of my system…

YES! any animla (including humans) are dangerous under the wrong situation.


Last year Shea & I were paddling the upper end of Roosevelt and saw a very large beaver on the shore.

It went into the ater, looked at us, left the water and groomed itself on the shore a few feet from oour bows that were touching the shore.

I figured that it KNEW that we were no danger to us and so ignored us.

IF there were beavers around my canp-site (and skunks and porcupines and…) I’d be more afraid of them chewing my paddle for the salt i sweated out than anything else.

great story
That was great though, perhaps a bit unusual.

I have had much the same happen to me several times, but never with the mock attack et al. It does make for a bit of a sleepless night as they keep coming by to “give you hell” about being there.

We have also had them sneak up till right beside you when your on the water then make this huge splash. Usually I jump a mile…I’m sure I’ve heard them snicker as they swim away.

…from backpacking days one rule was never take our water from beaver ponds or from the out flow, they have a huge reputation for carrying Giardia (Sp?)

In the back country and even more so paddling you certainly don’t want a case of the screaming sh***

It’s not a pretty sight !

Only if you have a wooden paddle or boat.

Beavers are not dangerous unless …
you decide to wrestle one. Thing is beavers do not know about hammocks and probably did not realize exactly where you were. It probably knew you were near but the idea that a person would be wrapped up in cloth and suspended in the air just didn’t compute. It was probably detecting you on and off at times and the tail slapping and thrashings are just warning signals.

I imagine that beaver is still scratching it’s head and wondering where that creature was hiding.


God was talking to you through the
beaver, just as He talked to Moses through the burning bush. You didn’t listen. You were supposed to go to Memphis and back up the Flood with a series of plagues.

Now you are just an Old Testament non-entity.

I heard of a beaver that absolutely destroyed a rottweiller (which lived but had to be put down). Beavers will always choose the water if they can, but if cornered and made to fight they are indeed formidable. Basically, those teeth are powerful and the animal can be heavy enough to hold its own.

I’ve often heard the splashing, but never the charging. I’m guessing it didn’t quite know what you were, and deemed you a threat. Cool story, though. Thanks.

Yes, when they bite … nt

Search for
Jeff Foxworthy’s story of the guy who got his nipple bitten off by a beaver. Jeff mentions there aren’t many times a newspaper is allowed to print nipple and beaver in the same headline ;o)>

Any wild animal can drastically increase in size, speed and ferocity when in close proximity to a perceived threat. Are they normally agressive no could they make you misedrable on a muddy riverbank definitely. I’d suggest talking to him most animals figure out quickly to get away.



here on lanier

– Last Updated: May-12-11 12:21 AM EST –

a guy was attacked buy one i heard it messed him up good. me im always lucky with nature deer sometime will walk right up to me lol maybe i smell bad like a animal