Beavers nearly became extinct in some areas of the country due to over-trapping in the mid to late 1800s. Their fur was sold for high prices, but over time humans realized how important beavers are to wetlands and have taken measures to protect them. Humans and beavers sometimes clash. Many methods have been used to help beavers and humans coexist. However, in some instances, beavers damage property, threaten human health and safety, and must be removed.
The cost to remove beavers depends on the location and number of beavers. The national average cost ranges from $400 to $1,000, with most property owners paying $550 for a consultation, removing two beavers by live trap, and relocation. The cost can be as low as $300 for a brief consultation and lethal removal for one beaver. Prices can be as high as $1,200 for a consultation, live trapping and relocation of four beavers, and two return trips.
|Beaver Removal Cost|
|National average cost||$550|
Finding a single beaver on your property is rare unless you catch the beaver when moving in. A male and female beaver usually take up residence together and have several kits living with them. Costs depend on the number of beavers needing to be removed. Keep in mind that the cost goes up if return trips are needed.
|Number of Beavers||Cost|
|1||$150 - $250|
|2||$300 - $600|
|3||$450 - $900|
|4||$600 - $1,200|
|5||$750 - $1,500|
|6||$900 - $1,800|
Working with a reputable, licensed company or trapper is essential when exploring beaver removal. Each state has different laws and guidelines, and permits are often needed. Beavers can be aggressive, so let the professionals take care of them. Beaver trapping will cost $150 to $1,200 depending on the number of beavers, type of trap used, and circumstances on your property. Just know that even if beavers are removed from your property, it is likely that other beavers will move in. Most property owners use deterrents or learn to live with beavers. Each state has different rules about what happens to trapped beavers. In some instances, they can be relocated. In other instances, lethal removal is the norm.
Beaver removal starts with an in-person consultation with the company. This costs about $150 to $250 for 30 minutes. Phone consultations can also be done if you send digital pictures via email for a slightly reduced price. After this initial consultation, a plan will be made.
Live traps are used when relocating beavers. Beavers have very predictable behavior and follow the same paths. Traps are usually set close to the shoreline, near a slide, or on another well-traveled path. The company or trapper assesses the site during the consultation to evaluate where to set the traps. Beaver bait for live traps usually consists of beaver castor, but twigs or branches can be used. Beavers especially like poplar.
When using a beaver live trap, a beaver wanders into the trap to get the bait. After entering, the door automatically closes, trapping the beaver inside. It is important to check live traps often to ensure no harm comes to the beaver. Three types of lethal traps include drowning snares, leg hold traps, and the conibear style body grip trap. The body grip is the most commonly used and placed in the water in front of the dam or den or along the water’s edge. This trap kills the beaver almost instantly. It takes skill to place and set traps, with lethal traps having the potential to harm an inexperienced person. Working with professionals is always best.
If you suspect beavers are on your property, you can watch for several things. Keep an eye out for tracks near the water. Beavers have unique prints because of their large webbed hind feet, smaller front feet with five fingers, and a tail that leaves a mark between the tracks. Beavers build slides to quickly get back into the water and mud 1 pillars to mark their territory. These can both damage your property.
One of the most obvious and dangerous signs of beavers is downed trees. Falling trees can injure people and pets and damage structures. Beavers knock down trees to get to the small branches. They eat the branches and use them to whittle down their constantly growing teeth. Downed trees mean that you need to move quickly to remove beavers, as it is a sign that they have claimed your property. Final signs to watch for are dams, lodges, and flooding. Beavers live in mound-shaped lodges at the water’s edge. They also block the water and flood the land to keep predators away and keep the land moist so that their food sources will grow. If a beaver has worked long enough on your property to cause flooding, it is time to get expert help.
Beavers have been linked to Giardia lamblia, also known as “beaver fever.” This can cause gastroenteritis in humans. Beavers, along with many other animals, can carry this disease transmitted through contaminated water. Although they are sometimes blamed for these outbreaks, most water contamination is linked to human causes, such as untreated human sewage entering waterways.
When left alone in the wild, beavers are shy and avoid contact with humans. They usually slap the water with their tails to create a loud noise to scare away enemies. However, if provoked or threatened, beavers defend themselves and their territory. They have been known to bite pets and humans. In addition to Giardia lamblia, beavers can carry rabies, coccidians, trematodes, and nematodes.
Beavers are herbivores with the scientific name Castor canadensis. Beaver numbers are now stable after heavy trapping for pelts in the mid to late 18th century. Living up to 24 years in the wild, beavers are very busy and have the capability of changing an entire wetland landscape. By building dams of branches and mud, beavers can transform a less than desirable habitat into a lush landscape filled with life. Their homes, called lodges, are also built with branches and mud and use underwater entrances. Monogamous parents, young kits, and the young beavers born the previous spring live in a lodge together.
Beavers are the largest rodents and can swim at speeds up to five miles per hour. They can stay underwater for 15 minutes without coming up for air. Beavers have a set of transparent eyelids that work like goggles. Their fur includes natural oils and is waterproof. Active during winter, beavers can often be seen swimming and foraging even when ice covers their pond.
Beavers mate for life. Males do not tend to fight for females. Beavers are territorial and mark their territory. The beaver life cycle begins with mating taking place in January or February. Somewhere between one to nine, with an average of four, kits will be born between late April and June. Gestation is 105 days. When the female is about to give birth, she makes a cozy bed in the lodge’s upper room.
At birth, kits weigh about one pound and can swim half an hour after being born. Both parents care for the kits, who move away to find their own mate and make their own lodge after their second winter.
A beaver grows to weigh 60 pounds and measure 23 to 39 inches in length plus another 7.75 to 12 inches for their tail. Their fur is reddish-brown or blackish. They have ears that are small, round, and brown. Beavers have strong back legs for swimming and weaker, smaller front legs. The back feet are webbed, which aids in tracking for beaver identification. They have large skulls and very big, orange-colored front teeth. Front teeth can grow up to 1 inch in length and continue growing throughout their whole life. They use these teeth to cut down trees, which also keeps the teeth from getting too long. Beaver tails are broad, flat, covered in large black scales, and measure 1 foot 2 in length and 6 inches in width, on average.
Beavers are herbivores. They eat leaves, twigs, bark, roots, and aquatic plants. Tree bark is one of their favorite things, especially the bark on the inner tree. The beaver’s diet changes with the seasons. During the summer, they eat more foliage, woody plants, grasses, water lilies, and cattails. In the winter, they eat more bark. The more deciduous trees around the water source on your property, the more likely a beaver will move in.
Beavers can cause a lot of damage, so it is important to catch them early if they move onto your property. Beavers are nocturnal, so it is unlikely that you will see them out and about during the day. However, you will see evidence of their nighttime activities during the day. Beavers should only be a problem if you have a water source on your property, such as a pond, creek, or lake. If you do not have any of these features, your land will not be attractive to beavers.
Beavers can damage your property by building slides and mud mounds and causing flooding. When beavers are present on property, tree damage and tree loss will be problematic. Falling trees can injure people or pets or damage structures. On a larger scale, beaver dams can damage downstream properties, flood roadways, and impact fish passage.
Beavers are not good climbers, so preventing access to trees is helpful. Trunk guards can be placed around tree trunks and are excellent beaver deterrents. These should be about three feet high and made of galvanized, gelded wire (2 x 2 inches or 2 x 3 inches is best). Pin these guards to the ground around the trees and use mulch inside the guard to keep weeds down. Blocking is another great option to protect an entire grove of trees. With this method, you do not have to address each tree. Instead, a three- to four-foot high fence can be installed around a grove of trees. This beaver exclusion fencing must be checked often to ensure beavers have not pushed underneath the fence.
Trunks can be painted with a mixture of coarse mason’s sand 3 and exterior latex paint. This mixture deters beavers and can be tinted to match the color of the tree. Sometimes, chemical soaked fabrics are placed around the tree trunks to work as a beaver repellent. An animal control company is your best bet for deterring or repelling beavers. They know the best methods and materials for keeping beavers out. The cost of these services starts at $60 per hour for labor plus materials.
Beaver repellent products on the market work if a beaver has not already inhabited the area. A few options are Nature’s Defense, which costs about $120 for a 50-pound bucket, and Bonide Animal repellent, which costs around $20 for a three-pound bottle.
Beaver Extermination vs Beaver Removal Cost
Beaver extermination is generally performed by using a lethal trap. This method should be used as a last resort when nonlethal removal is not feasible. Lethal trapping costs $150 to $200 per animal when working with an animal control company. This cost increases if multiple visits are needed. Another option is to work with an animal trapper or hunter for lethal removal if your state allows it. A trapper sets the traps, and a hunter shoots the beavers. These services generally cost $100 to $200 per visit. Several visits to your property may be required. Beaver extermination is slightly cheaper than beaver removal because the animal does not need to be relocated. However, beavers are very beneficial to wetland ecosystems. Extermination should only take place as a last resort. Removal and relocation are preferred.
Groundhogs are much smaller than beavers and have a short bushy tail instead of a large flat one. Groundhogs can swim, but they spend most of their time on land and make their homes in burrows in open spaces and fields. They are often a nuisance to farmers because of their burrows and their feasting on produce. Both groundhogs and beavers are rodents and herbivores. Both can damage property, yet they are important parts of the ecosystem. It is less expensive to remove groundhogs, with the average removal cost being $130 to $270 for a single groundhog and $150 to $500 for a single beaver. Just keep in mind that there is rarely only one of either of these animals.
Gophers are small, weighing only two or three pounds. They are from the same family of rodents as the beaver. Gophers rarely come out of their burrows and feed on the parts of plants that grow underground, such as roots and tubers. Gophers have cheek pouches, which allow them to store food for later. Gophers do have large front teeth, just like beavers, but only live for three years on average. Their tails are very short and thick. Gophers destroy yards, attract predators, and carry lice, fleas, and ticks. The cost to remove gophers, on average, ranges from $150 to $500.
There are many similarities and also many differences between muskrats and beavers. Both are semi-aquatic rodents that have water-resistant brown fur. However, beavers are much larger than muskrats, weighing up to 60 pounds. Muskrats usually only weigh about four pounds. Muskrats have a long, narrow tail and eat crayfish in addition to plants. Beavers cause more damage than muskrats. However, muskrats can destabilize the banks of water bodies with their burrows.
Live traps or lethal traps can be used to get rid of beavers. Beavers can also be shot in most states during hunting season. Deterrents and repellents can also be used to keep a beaver off your property but will not be effective once a beaver has moved in completely.
No, there are no poisons that are registered for use on beavers. If a poison is placed out for a beaver, another animal will likely eat it. The beaver could also contaminate the water if it dies from the poison while in the water.
Beavers are often classified as pests because of the property damage they can inflict. Researchers argue that they are an important part of wetland ecosystems.
Beavers are nocturnal and most active at night.
Beavers provide many benefits to wetlands, including improving water quality, creating diverse ecosystems, repairing eroded stream channels, restoring the health of watersheds, and regulating the flow of streams.