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Beavers do not regularly visit human properties, so actual one-on-one interactions are quite rare. the problems that beavers bring them are usually related to the kind of structures they build in the water. If you have certain plants or trees growing in your yard, and you live close to water, there’s a good chance these creatures will come up to take a closer look. If you have what they like to eat, they will eat it. That's what wild creatures do when they enter your land. They’re looking for food, water, or shelter. More often than not, a combination of the three is preferable.
You will rarely see a beaver. They are nocturnal creatures, but they do come out during the day to splash around, hang out with family members, and to eat. You are even less likely to see the beavers if you're looking for them during the cold winter. They don’t hibernate, but they do shut their bodies down so that they can sleep for prolonged periods of time. They will wake up from time to time to eat and socialize, but they sleep for long chunks of time.
Although you won’t be able to see the beaver itself, the damage it leaves behind will be very visible from a rather early point. It won't be long after these beasts start hanging around that you see many signs, insulting vegetation, including shrubs and trees, being destroyed and chewed. You may also see slides — long, sliding channels that the beavers create. These will usually lead right to the water.
Of course, one major thing that you must bear in mind when you spot beavers about is the threat of flooding. That’s one of the biggest problems faced with landowners and beaver dams, and removing the damn can be just as troublesome, often requiring industrial machinery to do the job safely. Just one wrong movement when you’re tearing the thing down can result in disaster. A flash flood could occur, damaging property as well as potentially threatening the lives of people and other wildlife. If you are responsible for the movement of the dam, and then the water that the dam was holding back then floods someone else’s property, causing damage, you might be held liable.
Not only that, trying to tear down a beaver dam is actually a pretty pointless affair if you haven’t gone to the trouble of getting rid of the beavers too. There are usually a few beavers to a colony — double figures in some cases — and they will simply start rebuilding the dam once you're no longer to pull it apart or scare them away.
This isn’t a job you’ll want to DIY without any prior knowledge, that’s for sure. In fact, in some places across North America (such as Washington), you will need to get a special permit before you can touch any part of the dam. Technically, you are looking to change, divert, obstruct, or use the flow or bed of state waters, so you must seek permission before you do anything to those bodies of water. In Washington, for example, this is called a HPA — Hydraulic Project Approval, and it must be approved by the DFW — Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Read more about How to get rid of beavers.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How To Guide: Who should I hire? - What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.
How To Guide: do it yourself! - Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.
Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost? - Analysis of wildlife control prices.