Beaver cuts down tree, traps own tail

The stump in the foreground is the original tree stump.  The tree when cut simply bounced off to the side but remained standing. The cut in the standing tree is where the beaver had chewed through a second time in an attempt to free itself. (Photo by Matt Hunt)Xenia, Ohio – Once in a while, a story comes along that proves Mother Nature can be very amusing and unfortunately very cruel to her creatures. Such was the story recently received about a beaver with its tail trapped. The story was from Matt Hunt, DNR Division of Wildlife officer assigned to Greene County.

Officer Hunt explains that he received a third-hand call about a beaver just off one of the area bike trails and its tail was caught in a hole. This certainly intrigued him, as well as causing him to scratch his head. Officer Hunt was able to reach the location of the callers and the beaver. Sure enough, there was a beaver less than 50 feet off the bike trail, sitting rather calmly with its tail appearing to go into the ground. Officer Hunt thought this looked really strange. He approached the animal with extreme caution not knowing exactly what to expect.  It was quickly obvious that the beaver was very distressed and not able to leave.

Officer Hunt retrieved some equipment from his vehicle to properly restrain the beaver so he could get a closer look at the tail. While the beaver clearly didn’t like the additional intrusion, it really didn’t put up a fight.

Officer Hunt could hardly believe his eyes when he got down next to the tree where the beaver was sitting. It’s still a little hard to explain.

The beaver was sitting next to a trees and a stump. Apparently the beaver was doing what they do, chewing the bark and cutting down trees. When this tree fell, rather than falling over, it fell off to one side and landed on the beaver’s tail. The tree was tangled in other tree limbs and vine growth, which likely kept it from falling normally. The beaver had been making a second cut on the tree in an attempt to free its tail.

When he recovered from the sheer amazement of the situation, Officer Hunt was able to use a hand saw to cut the tree and move the section from the beaver's tail. Amazingly the beaver sat quietly through this process. 

It was likely worn out from attempting to free itself. Once released from the restraints, the beaver quickly fled toward the river where it crossed and disappeared into the brush. Happily freed and living to chew another day!

Editor's note: This story was filed recently by contributing writer Larry Moore, who lives in Greene County not far from where this happened.

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