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Category: Vi Making Friends With The Outdoor Folk

Along the shores of sluggish streams, of lonely lakes and ponds, you may
see the beaver, the muskrat, very rarely the otter, and sometimes an
ugly little, long-bodied animal belonging to the marten family called
the fisher. These are all interesting, each in its own way, and well
worth hours of quiet observation. The beaver, otter, and fisher choose
wild, secluded places for their homes, but the muskrat may be found also
in the marshes of farm lands. On the edges of our Long Island meadows
the boys trap muskrats for their skins.

You will find the beaver house in the water close to the shore and
overlapping it. Though strongly and carefully built, it looks very much
like a jumble of small driftwood, with bleached sticks well packed
together, and the ends standing out at all angles. The sticks are
stripped of their bark and the house gleams whitely against the dark
water. The houses vary in size, some being built as high as five feet.
The beaver is rarely seen early in the day, most of his work is done at
night, so the best time to watch for him is just before dusk or perhaps
an hour before sundown. It is not well to wait to see the beaver if your
trail back to camp is a long one, leading through dense forests. You
would far better postpone making its acquaintance than to risk going
over the, perhaps, treacherous paths after dark. Night comes early in
the woods and darkness shuts down closely while it is still light in the
open. If your camp is near the beaver house or beaver dam, or if your
trip can be made by water, then, with no anxiety about your return, you
can sit down and calmly await the coming of this most skilful of all
building animals, and may see him add material to his house, or go on
with his work of cutting down a tree, as a reward for your patience.

Next: Fish-Hawk, Osprey

Previous: Woodcock

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