Beaver





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.





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