How to stop beavers from chewing trees


Tree Protection | Beaver Institute, Inc.

How To Protect Trees from Beaver Chewing

Beaver chewing at the base of a tree

Beavers chop down trees with their teeth for food and building dams and lodges. In addition, like all rodents their teeth never stop growing so chewing wood helps keep them sharp and prevents them from growing too long.

Protecting trees from beaver chewing is a very common concern for homeowners. Fortunately there are ways to protect selected trees without destroying the beaver and its wetland ecosystem. Most of the following tree protection techniques are inexpensive, reliable, and relatively easy for nearly any person to do in a short period of time.

Protecting Trees with Fencing

Fencing to prevent beavers from chewing a mature tree. Leave room for tree growth.

Various styles of fencing can be used to protect individual specimen trees or a small grove of trees.

Individual trees can be spared from beaver gnawing by placing wire cylinders around the base of their trunks. The purpose of the heavy wire cylinder is simply to keep the beaver from getting to the tree. This is our preferred method to protect trees from beaver chewing. The technique is 100% effective, it only takes a few minutes per tree, is inexpensive, and it will remain effective for many years with no maintenance!

Since beavers use trees for food and building materials, fencing their preferred trees (such as aspen, poplar, cottonwood and willow) cuts beavers off from these needed supplies. This can make the habitat area less inviting for beavers.

How to Install the Fencing

Completed tree protection near a pond

The tree trunk fence cylinders are best made from 2? x 4? mesh. Chicken wire often rusts out in a year or two, and hardware wire mesh is very noticeable and not very aesthetic. Various length rolls of the 2” x 4” wire mesh can be purchased at any home supply store. We recommend 4 foot high fence so the beavers cannot get above it. In cold climates make sure the fence height is 2 feet above the highest snow level to prevent winter tree chewing. Often you will have a choice between galvanized, green or black vinyl coated fencing. All work well, so for aesthetic reasons choose the color that best matches the color of your tree trunks. The initial gleam of the galvanized fence quickly fades to a nice dull gray patina which is barely noticeable on most trees.

In addition to the correct height fence, you will need a pair of wire snips and gloves. Wire fasteners or small zip ties are optional.

Procedure
With simple wire snips cut a length of fence long enough to encircle the tree trunk while leaving a 3 – 6 inch gap between the wire mesh cylinder and the tree trunk. This gap allows for future trunk growth without girdling.

Position the cut piece of fence around the tree trunk and use each of the wire prongs to fasten the sides of the fence, completing the fence cylinder around the tree trunk. Other fasteners (e.g. hog rings, zip ties, etc.) can also be used to fashion the cylinder.

The cylinder generally does not need to be anchored to the ground.

You can cut the bottom of the cylinder to fit a sloping ground, or to protect prominent roots from chewing.

Replace the fence cylinder if it’s corroded or if room for more tree trunk growth is needed.

Other Fencing Methods to Protect Trees

Protecting a Grove of Trees
Sometimes a person may wish to protect an entire stand of trees without wrapping each trunk individually. In this case a grove a trees can be protected by encircling all the trees with a fence. However, because beavers are good diggers, the entire fence needs to be installed in contact with the ground so that there are no gaps the beavers can exploit. In cold climates it needs to be 2 feet higher than the winter snow. Some people have reported success with leaving the side furthest from the water open. See diagram.

The fence can be simple 2” x 4” mesh secured on posts and/or against the tree trunks. However, often a roll of fence can be difficult to contour to uneven terrain.

Electric Fence
To deal with uneven terrain or for a more aesthetic look, some people have reported good results using an electrified fence placed 4” above the ground. These electric fence kits are often solar powered. They are commonly used by farmers and are usually available at farm supply stores. The electric fence is less noticeable than a large fence enclosure, which is good aesthetically for areas with high visibility. However, an electric fence needs to be inspected periodically to ensure that a tree branch doesn’t fall on it and short it out.

How To Stop Beavers Chewing Trees - Calgary, AB

More Ways to Protect Trees from Beavers

Sand- Paint Tree Protection

Ingredients

  1. Paint: Exterior Latex (choose a color to match the bark)
  2. Mason Sand: 30 mil – 70 mil

Formula

  • Mix 5 oz sand per quart of paint, or
  • Mix 20 oz sand per gallon of paint, or
  • Mix 140 gm sand per liter of paint.

Procedure
Make in small batches at a time on the day you are going to apply it. Using too much sand will cause the mixture to roll off the tree. Apply paint to bottom three to four feet of tree trunk (2 feet above snow). Do not need to reapply for several years. Consider leaving some trees unpainted for beaver food. This formula does not work for saplings, so protect them with wire fencing.

Mixing Sand and Paint. Sierra Wildlife Coalition, CA
Color Match Paint to Bark. Sierra Wildlife Coalition, CA
Tree on Left with Sand-Paint. Sierra Wildlife Coalition, CA
Sand-painting aspen fun. Sierra Wildlife Coalition, CA

Sand-Paint Teamwork. Sierra Wildlife Coalition, CA
Aspen Cutting. Photo by S. Fouty, USFS in OR

Taste Aversive Tree Protection

Cayenne Pepper and Oil
Procedure: Infuse vegetable or mineral oil with cayenne pepper and then paint on the tree trunks. This has been reported as an effective means of preventing beaver chewing by Dr. Thomas E. Eveland, Ecology Consultant, The Fund for Animals and by the “Beaversprite” newsletter.

Disadvantages: It has been reported by a VT state official that applying this mixture has killed thin barked trees. Also it may need to be reapplied 1 -2 times annually.

FAQ'S

Why do beavers cut down trees?

Beavers use the trees they cut down for food, and they use the left over branches for building materials for their dams and lodges.

A beaver snacking on the bark…

In cold weather climates beavers are most active cutting down trees in the fall because they are preparing for the winter. Beavers do not hibernate, so they plan ahead and build a stockpile (cache) of edible sticks in order to survive the cold winter. They stick one end of these sticks in the mud at the bottom of their pond near their lodge so that when the pond freezes over and they can no longer access new trees, they can swim out of their lodge, grab a stick, and bring it back to the comfort of their lodge to eat.

How do they do it?

It’s hard to believe that beavers are able to chew right through the trunk of a tree, but they do. Beavers have very strong and sharp teeth which are paired with powerful jaw muscles. A single beaver can fell a medium sized tree in a single night! Beaver teeth never stop growing, so it is believed that beavers need to constantly chew wood to prevent their teeth from growing too long! Amazingly, due to a hard orange enamel on the front side of their incisors and a softer white dentin on the backside of these teeth, their teeth are self-sharpening as they chew on wood. As beavers chew the softer backsides of the incisors wear faster, creating teeth with chisel-like cutting surfaces. They also have molars which they use for grinding their food.

Do they eat the wood?

When a beaver cuts down a tree it wants to eat the inner, growing (cambium) layer of the tree bark. That is why they will nibble all the bark off the branch, leaving a debarked stick. They will also eat the fine twigs and leaves. However, they do not eat the inner woody part of the branches and tree trunk as they are unable to digest the wood. Once the bark is all eaten from a branch, they reuse the stick to build their lodges and dams. A beaver’s diet consists solely of vegetation. They do not eat fish or any non-plant materials. The reason they topple trees is to gain access to all the bark on the tree as well as the smaller twigs and leaves. Branches will be chewed off in sections that are small enough to drag into the water for safe and leisurely eating. The bark of large tree trunks will be chewed where it lies if the beaver can reach it. Beavers prefer to cut down smaller diameter trees because the bark is thinner and easier to digest, but they can topple any size tree.

What trees species do they eat?

Beavers have a definite preference for the trees they like to eat. Preferred tree species include alder, aspen, apple, birch, cherry, cottonwood, poplar and willow. Aspen/poplar and cottonwood are their favorite. If the supply of their preferred trees is low they will harvest oaks and some maples. Conifers such as pines, hemlocks, etc. are their least favorite.

Beavers will sometimes girdle (remove the bark around the entire base) of conifers for an unknown reason. One possibility is to obtain some needed nutrients, especially before deciduous trees resume growing in the spring.

Why do they cut so much in the fall?

If you live in a cold weather climate you may notice that beavers cut down the most trees in the late fall. This is because they are stockpiling a food cache of sticks for the winter. Beavers do not hibernate, so they plan ahead and store a large cache of edible sticks underwater near their lodge in order to be able to eat once the ponds freeze. Once the pond is frozen over and they can no longer access new trees, they will swim out of their lodge, grab an underwater stick, and bring it back to the comfort of their lodge to eat the bark.

How far from the water do beavers cut trees?

Beavers are well adapted to water and evolved over millennia to use water as a defense from predators. While surprisingly fast over short distances, beavers nonetheless do not like to travel too far from the water to cut down a tree. Most trees that beavers cut down are within 100 feet of the water. As beavers deplete the supply of food trees close to the pond’s edge they will usually raise the height of the beaver dam to bring the pond closer to more distant trees. Another engineering trick beaver will employ is to excavate canals from the pond in the direction of the trees they wish to harvest. Once a tree is toppled they are able to cut off and transport the branches easier and more safely to the pond using their canal. Beaver are truly “Nature’s Engineers”!

Dead Trees are so destructive and ugly!

The sight of dead, flooded trees (snags) seems very destructive and ugly to most people. However, snags are needed by many species of birds. Swallows, wood ducks, blue herons, eagles, osprey, woodpeckers, turtles and many others rely on these dead trees for food, shelter and places to perch. The death of trees may look destructive and unattractive to us, but they are a necessary and extremely important habitat to many other species in the ecosystem.

The loss of these trees also allows significant more sunlight to reach the water. The sunlight, water, and suspended nutrients in the pond water combine to stimulate the immense growth of algae, microorganisms, invertebrates and aquatic plants that then become the foundation of the wetland food chain. These life forms become food for innumerable larger species and create a prolific biodiversity of species in and around a beaver pond. Beaver ponds are seven times more bioproductive than the most fertile farmland. They become magnets for wildlife. So at first glance the death of these trees appears to be a destructive act by the beaver, but it is actually an absolute requirement to support the abundance of life that makes these wetlands so valuable.

Tree protection also modifies the habitat by decreasing the beaver food supply. The more trees that are protected the sooner the beavers will exhaust their food supply. Eventually they will relocate but it often takes years. Trapping the beavers preserves the food supply and will keep it attractive habitat indefinitely. In our experience trapping is a short term solutions as new beavers often relocate to the trapped habitat every year.

Once an area is depleted of their preferred trees it won’t become good beaver habitat for another 10 – 15 years until new trees are large enough to provide adequate food.

Wrapping the trunks of trees with fencing not only protects the trees from chewing, but also modifies the habitat by decreasing the beaver food supply. The more trees that are protected the sooner the beavers exhaust their food supply and will relocate. The area typically won’t become good beaver habitat for 10 – 15 years until new trees are large enough to provide adequate food. This is a longer term (and less expensive) option if there are limited number of trees to protect.

Contact Us for More Information

Tips for Protecting you Property from Beaver Damage

Generally,  beavers cannot access properties with seawalls that are 2’ or more above the lake bottom. However, beavers are notoriously clever, and will climb steps, ladders, or small openings for drainage to gain access to desirable plants.  
Beavers have even climbed up on piles of sticks, bricks, and other debris and used their teeth to grab hold of seawalls and leverage themselves up from the lake. Beavers prefer to take trees within short distances of the water, but they have been known to travel more than 150’ from the water to get to desirable plants.  That means they are capable of reaching plants in front yards when food is scarce. Busy beavers can take down several good sized trees in a single night of work. Prevention is this best policy!  All waterfront property owners are urged to protect their valuable trees to prevent loss to beavers - before damage occurs!

Tree Cages:  The best way to protect your trees is to wrap them with cylinder cages made of sturdy galvanized welded wire fencing with 2 - 4"  X 2 - 4” mesh openings. Fencing should be a at least 3' high. In addition to the fencing, you will need a pair of wire snips and gloves. Encircle the trunk, leaving at least 6” between the tree and cage on all sides so the tree has room to grow and so that beavers cannot lean against or gnaw through the fencing. Large exposed roots that extend outside the cage may need to be protected too. To make a cage, measure the circumference of your tree adding at least one foot  to the measurement. Cut  the appropriate length of fencing from a roll of wire fencing.  Cut every other horizontal wire at one end of the length of fencing before you make the cylinder for ease, then wrap the fencing around the base of your tree to make a cylinder. To fasten, bend the cut wires into hooks to secure to the other side of the cylinder. You may anchor the cages to the ground with a couple of stakes to keep beavers from pushing it against the tree or you may bend the top few inches of the wire against the tree to hold the wire cage away from the tree.   We have found that dark green or black, plastic coated fencing is nearly invisible in wooded yards.  Rolls of this fencing  are available at Home Depot and most hardware stores.

Large groups of closely spaced trees or shrubs may be wrapped as a group to facilitate protection of valuable landscape plantings. Check your cages periodically to make sure they are secure and in good shape. They should last for many years.

Paint/Sand Mix:  “Painting” tree trunks or wood with a mixture of latex and gritty fine or masonry sand is a method that has been successful in preventing gnawing and beaver damage to trees and to seawalls, docks and other wooden structures. Beavers dislike the gritty feel of sand in their mouth. Latex allows the bark to “breathe”, while the gritty texture of the sand deters beavers.  This is not recommended for newly planted trees smaller than about 6’ in height and must be renewed every two or three years.
 

  • Use 8 oz. of fine sand to1 quart of exterior grade latex paint
  • For larger batches mix 20 oz. of sand to 1 gal. latex paint.

Paint stores can match the color of a bark sample of your tree if you are picky about their appearance. We have also had success in using a clear latex paint or shellac mixed thoroughly with sand, however this may not allow small trees to breathe. Young restoration trees can be protected with a combination of products like  "4 the Birds," or "Birds Away," and sand. Apply the sticky substance with a dedicated brush that has also been dipped in sand, and paint a strip about four feet high on the trunks of saplings. Avoid using this method on older trees, which might be used by trunk-climbing birds. Paint trees to a height of between 3.5 to 4’ and renew the paint every 2 - 3 years as needed.  A number of trees in the woods beside Beach 3 have been “painted” with latex and sand and have not been bothered by beavers.

This technique is also effective in protecting seawalls and docks that may be subject to gnawing by beavers.

Shoreline Barriers: If you have a large shoreline that is heavily vegetated and not protected by a seawall, you may consider installing a barrier across vulnerable, low parts of your shoreline, to protect natural dense and layered plantings. All fences must be approved in advance by the ARC. The ARC can advise you on various options and examples of appropriate fencing, barrier or exclusion devices.  
 

  • Fencing: Sturdy dark green or black plastic coated galvanized wire fencing with 2 - 4" x 2 - 4" openings is effective and is visually unobtrusive on wooded properties. Fencing should be at least 30" high and held securely with fence posts driven into the ground and spaced every 8 - 10' in vulnerable locations or low spots. You can see examples of this type fencing at the Beach 5 RPA Garden.  
  • Low triangular barriers: Four foot wide rolls of fencing as outlined above, may also be bent lengthwise into a low equilateral triangle which can be staked into the ground near the shoreline or on the landward side of a low seawall. While still experimental, a double row of these low barriers have been effective at deterring beavers. To construct this type of barrier, lay a convenient length of the fencing on the ground lengthwise in front of you and bend the two sides up to meet at the top forming a low triangle. Cut every other wire on one side and securely bend and hook the cut wires to the other side of the fencing at the top of the triangular barrier as outlined for Tree Cages. Stake cages to the ground securely. Vines and low plantings may be planted beside or in the cages to help camouflage them.Planting for aesthetics: To maintain the natural beauty and aesthetics of our lake shore, it is strongly recommended that any fencing be placed several feet back from the water's edge. Any valuable trees or plants between the lake and fencing should be protected or caged as described above. It is strongly recommended that you plant several low ornamental vines or shrubs along the fencing or barrier to help camouflage it and maintain the natural beauty of shoreline. The Environmental Committee can recommend appropriate plants.


Repellents:
Repellent sprays are a much less reliable means of protection, but may be used on small saplings and foliage plants and shrubs as a deterrent and may be effective for short time periods. Repellents seem to work best when other nearby food sources are available. Ro-pel is the only deterrent currently registered as a beaver deterrent with U.S. EPA. Research indicates that repellents containing sulfur compounds, such as Deer Off and Big Game Repellent Powder, are effective as temporary deterrents, but they are not yet registered for this use with EPA. Growing Season Repellent from Nott Products is reported to protect plants for up to two months, will not clog sprayers and can be used around edibles. All of these will need to be reapplied at regular intervals.
 
Wildlife Conflict Resolution Services:
  For homeowners that may not want or be able to protect their properties by constructing barriers or wrapping  their trees, the LBA has collaborated with the United States' Humane Society to tailor a wildlife/beaver conflict resolution package that conforms to LBA's Beaver Management Policy and the unique circumstances of our lake.  This is available to Lake Barcroft residents for a competitive fee. Please see the separate handout entitled " Humane WildlifeServices Beaver Activity Assessment and Wildlife Conflict Solutions" for details". Other neighborhood landscapers such as Delfino's Landscaping Services have experience in beaver exclusion methods such as constructing barriers. fencing, and wrapping trees and may also be available to help residents protect their properties.

Updated 02/19/2013

wild terraformers in action / Sudo Null IT News And now our hero quite calmly gnaws signs near Yekaterinburg.

Imagine a hefty mouse, slightly larger than a roe deer, perfectly adapted to water. Throw in hefty teeth reinforced with metal (ferrihydrite, to be exact) and some savvy engineering skills in terms of “how to derail a train” or “how to flood a village.” Meet this beaver. Beavers are cool in that they terraform the surrounding landscape and make the planet around them safe for themselves.

Here is a specific example. A pair of beavers somehow started up on the Chernaya River. First, they carried out survey work. The coast turned out to be low for them, that is, not very convenient for operational bases and the main fortification. Beavers took and shifted the riverbed. Then they built a hut according to all the rules of fortification. To her immediately - the dam is nearby. It is convenient to raise the water level so that the entrance becomes underwater! Wolf does not support this.

Then they dug the hut with ditches and felled several trees so that they formed a notch. They made a diversion channel-fuse in case of floods, so that the dam would not be washed away. Stored for the winter about a ton of branches at the bottom of the formed pond. And went to sleep.

The river froze over in winter. Our heroes simply swam right out of the hut under the ice, took a branch from the bottom from their supply and returned to grunt.

Terraforming didn't stop there. Of course, next year several more types of engineering structures had to be built at the base.

Main()

In principle, you already know the main algorithm of the action of beavers from this pair from the Chernaya River, near Sysert (40 kilometers from Yekaterinburg). So, at some point in the spring, a young two-year-old beaver understands that it is time for him to leave his native hut, because his parents are tired of supporting him. More precisely, he can hit the back of the head from Bati, because from the age of two he is already gradually moving from the state of "pupil" to the state of "competitor in my territory."

A juvenile starts a long romantic journey along a river, and sometimes moves to nearby rivers looking for a mate. According to some reports, a beaver can walk along the coast for 8 kilometers, but there have been cases of dashes for 40 kilometers. At these moments, he sleeps in an impromptu shelter under a root or under a bank slope, does not create a permanent home. During migration, there are two goals: to find a wonderful place for a house and to meet the love of a lifetime. That is, a beaver with an experienced engineering eye marks unoccupied places on the river, where it would be cool to make a dam. And at the same time he looks to see if anyone is wandering around. By the way, we’ll talk about modeling such acquaintances with the help of a shovel a little lower.

The main thing is that the beaver himself tries not to walk on the ground and does not let others. In general, this formula describes his whole life. This is what he strives for.

A happily introduced couple (or, more rarely, a single beaver, to which the female will later join) begin building a hut, semi-hut, or burrow. The task of the first year is to get a winter shelter, stock up on food and, if possible, secure the surrounding landscape. Where the coast allows, a hole is dug, if possible rests on something that can strengthen it.


Burrows, by the way, are very dangerous when counting beavers for inspectors: you can easily walk along their river and fall waist-deep into one of them.


Let's go cut down a tree upstream so that it can be washed away closer to the hut

In our case, the beavers started by changing the channel of the Chernaya so that it would be more convenient to solve their problems. Here you can clearly see the old woman and the new channel away from the forest:

The hut works like this: natural enemies of a beaver like a wolf can attack it only from above, where strong branches are held together by silt and clay. In fact, it is very difficult for a wolf or a lynx to dismantle such a fortification, because they have paws. The beaver can just sit out like in a fortress. The wolf either does not know how to dive, or will get a noble bream when diving out, so it will not be able to get through the main entrance. The bear, in theory, does not mind eating beaver and can even destroy the hut, but while he does this, the beavers will retreat to their other hole, which in the summer serves as an intermediate shelter. Waterfowl predators are too small to harm an adult beaver inside the lodge. If only because it is hard to harm a motivated engineer with teeth under 8 centimeters, which he does not mind using not only as a woodworking tool.


Here you can clearly see the hut and the dam, as well as the diversion channel. The hut is exactly in the center, the dam is to the right under the tree.


Here it is from the ground

Polukhatka is when beavers find a suitable root or something else that can be supplemented with branches and get a similar shelter.

Our beaver's huts can be big enough to drive archaeologists crazy, digging up a sixteenth-century peasant fisherman's hut until biologists neighing like horses arrive. But our beavers are monogamous, but the Canadian ones are polygamous, so their huts can be even larger. Ours have a height of up to 3 meters and a diameter of up to 12 meters (more often it is 1 meter in height and 3-4 meters in diameter). From above there is even a “chimney of a mud hut”, in fact, an air duct. By the way, because of him, you can decide that the beaver is cooking something in winter - in fact, this is steam coming out from the breath.


A characteristic hut on Elk Island. By the way, it is an island not because there is water around, but because it is a piece of forest surrounded by something else. Such a piece of forest in the old days was also called an island.

Create a food supply around the hut, ensure safety from predators during normal chores and, preferably, securely flood the entrance. In winter, all this will turn into ice, that is, it will give an additional layer of protection. To do this, beavers build the main dam just downstream and dam the site. At the bottom of the formed inflow, branches can be folded for the winter, sticking them into the bottom or pressing them with stones. Beavers drag an underwater stack (or several) of wood until they have collected about 4 cubic meters per individual - about half a ton of food. In the spring, undereaten stocks sometimes protrude above the water.


The dam, the reflections show very clearly how it changes the speed of the current.

By the way, the second reason to raise the water level is to prevent the inlet from freezing to the bottom. First, then there will be nowhere to go. Secondly, in December-February, beavers rut, and they breed only in water. I mean, yeah, right there under the ice.

Usually a hut and one dam is enough for the first wintering. Beavers climb into the hut and begin to doze inside. This is not suspended animation or even hibernation, but they simply sit and look at the wall with interest. The beaver itself acts as a heater of the hut, and it is unprofitable to lower its temperature for the sake of hibernation. Hence the almost normal expenditure of energy and normal hunger. The beaver spends the fat accumulated over the summer and from time to time dives into its creek under the ice to get another branch to devour at home. Sometimes looking for roots.

As we know from the laboratory of the Voronezh Reserve, it seems that by spring they start catching and eating fish. In the sense that a fish and a branch are completely different things, but if you really need to, you can close your eyes and imagine that you are nibbling on a branch. This conclusion was drawn from parasites found inside beavers whose intermediate host is only fish.
UPD: the information was obtained from a laboratory researcher, but in the comment Rumidu explains that the intermediate host may also be a mollusk.

Here's what you can pick up in one beaver:


In the spring, beavers gnaw through or break through the wormwood and begin to crawl out of the river. This is the most dangerous moment of the year: for a wolf, this is a free beaver, because if in ordinary life he just flops into the river and becomes a submarine, then in the spring he still needs to hobble to the ice hole. And on the ground, the beaver is not very dexterous and fast. More like funny and clumsy.

On the other hand, if a beaver is frightened in the water, it flaps its tail before diving, and this can be heard at 300 meters. All the beavers in the area understand what is happening, so when you observe these animals, the worst scenario is to accidentally scare the first one.

But back to our heroes. Suppose they survived the spring. Now you need to deal with defense and expansion of space. First, beavers will appear, and they need nursery canals. These are branches from the river, where there is no strong current, against which it is difficult for beaver cubs to swim. On Chernaya, the couple dug out a nursery canal and dropped a soft, tasty tree into it so that the beavers would sit evenly and not protrude too much. They feed on milk, but they try to gnaw on everything after a few weeks, and then they already switch to a mixed diet.

The nursery canal can be additionally protected by cutting down any shrubs and small trees on the bank, but not with branches into the water, as usual (to eat from the river), but along the water. That is, so that a notch is formed or, in extreme cases, just a windbreak. So the predator will either not crawl through at all, or at least make a noise and linger.

Similar protection is needed along the entire coast, plus holes are needed at a distance from the hut. Beavers can hide in them at any threat, that is, these are such intermediate operating bases.

If you haven't dug it up last year, you need a diversion channel: this is a fuse in case of floods so that the hut is not flooded. Beavers can compensate for some fluctuations in the water level: they raise the floor, scraping the earth from the ceiling. But it is better to protect yourself from significant ones with a fuse channel, usually dry, but with high water, draining excess.

Our beavers also made a backup dam downstream - either in case the main dam broke (because they already had such a precedent and had to move), or simply because they wanted to get an additional dam. Here it is:

As you can see, they simply drove several large sticks into the bottom with a crescent moon, and the river itself dragged silt and earth there, that is, the work took a minimum. And if anything, our beavers will block the ducts from this tooth-creating island in a moment.

By the way, they build the dam instinctively (that is, it seems to be hardcode), and the regulation is tied to the sounds of flowing water. If I wrote a regulation for a beaver, I would do something like “let him be pissed off by the sound of running water”, so that he “turns off” him with a dam. By the way, if you play the sounds of flowing water to a beaver, you can really piss him off and motivate him to build a dam even on a concrete floor, although there are versions that we are talking about underwater traction too.

Thus, beavers clogged a pipe laid through a dam with silt and branches, even if it passed along the bottom and was “inaudible”. At the same time, it remains not completely clear how beavers distribute responsibilities among themselves during collective work. They can work either in teams, as mentioned above, or alone. But both collectives and independent builders act according to a strange universal plan, absolutely precise and thought out to the smallest detail.

About trees

The beaver fells trees not haphazardly in a fit of madness, but strictly scientifically. Okay, except for that nutty beaver from Deer Creeks who climbed up the mountain and ransacked it. Perhaps he was just bored. Perhaps he had some kind of tactic, and he stuck to it.


Here you can see how they do it (this is "The Life of Animals" of the 71st year, edited by Academician Zenkevich).

So, the beaver roughly imagines how the tree will fall, and tries to drop it with its branches into the water. There it will be convenient to eat from the water, and there it can, if necessary, become the basis of a dam. The problem is that the beaver does not take into account the wind much, and therefore it may be in for a surprise. In any case, he grinds the tree "under the pencil" with a greater depth of gnaw on the side where the water is. And then he listens carefully when the fibers begin to break. As soon as this sound begins, he immediately runs away and hides, in the hope that the calculation is correct.

He gnaws wood with horizontal movements, like a saw. His teeth are self-sharpening: the front layer of enamel is very strong, plus the body delivers iron there (in fact, this is why the front teeth look rusty). But the back layer of enamel is much weaker, and the tooth grinds faster from behind than from the front. And it also grows all the time in length and width, that is, the beaver constantly sharpens its tooth during operation, and the tooth in response compensates for the loss of length by growth.


By the way, the incisors are separated from the main volume of the beaver by a lip-sluice - that is, our hero can easily gnaw something even under water, but you need to eat it already in the air. There are 16 more teeth behind the lip for grinding.

But the skull:


Beavers are quite selective in terms of which trees they have. But they bring down not only what they are going to eat, but also full houses and signs. You already know about the supporting tree for the dam. Even on the Black Beaver, every year they gnawed a little pine: because of the resins, they definitely won’t eat it, as a building material they also don’t need it. Most likely, for them it is like a visit to the dentist, the protection of spruce from parasites works quite well for protecting the teeth of a beaver. But this is only a hypothesis.

Besides, beavers gnaw what will become the material for the roof of a hut or dams, plus bedding. By the way, they make dams not only from branches, but also from stones. 5-kilogram stones they quite cheerfully drag in their paws where necessary at the bottom. On the traps of the Voronezh reserve, you can still clearly see how they roll clods of earth.

Aspen 7 centimeters thick can be felled in 7 minutes, but a tree 40 centimeters thick already requires a whole night of work.

Beavers eat not only branches and bark, but also aquatic plants. That is, yes, grass, too, and a lot. On Chernaya they like aspen and birch, not against water lilies, egg capsules and so on. About 20% of the weight of the original beaver should be added per day to the beaver. To prevent this from becoming a recursion, in the morning the beaver gets rid of part of the accumulated mass and lets it all go with the flow.

Feeding tables are formed where the beaver eats small branches. He usually fells the tree, then tears off all the branches and drags them to where it is safer. It turns out a place where he can sit, but from which he can very quickly fall into the water.


Will eat at home

If there are no trees left near the river, beavers begin to dig a canal to a tasty grove. That is, they do not deliberately climb out of the water in order to always have protection from a predator.

In the flood you can see another type of construction: our heroes build hammocks on the tops of bushes from branches and twigs with dry grass bedding. But here I focus on literature, I have not seen this myself, alas.

A little more about beaver architecture

Beaver is a rodent. In fact, this is such a hefty mouse, squirrel or guinea pig, only very adapted to water. True, this mouse in its prime weighs up to 30 kilograms (up to 45 specimens are found in the literature), so from time to time schoolchildren mistake it for a bear.

Most likely (but this is inaccurate) adaptation to the aquatic environment appeared in protobeavers earlier than the whole complex of engineering skills.

Like many other rodents, they do not feed on the wood from the trunk itself, but on the outer layers, which are easier to digest with the help of symbiotic bacteria.

The beaver only looks terribly wet in the photographs, in fact only the top layer gets wet. It is also lubricated with the secret of the musk glands, the “beaver stream”, which is included in perfumes, including some modern ones.

The fur must be carefully combed so that the rest does not get wet . The animal is also well sealed: in addition to the fact that the lip separates the incisors from most of the beaver, the nostrils are also closed, the ears are folded, and translucent eyelids like an underwater mask fall over the eyes. Vibrissae whiskers, which land animals usually need to navigate in the dark in Braille, in the case of the beaver have also become a very accurate indicator of undercurrents and disturbances.

Tail covered with leather. These are not scales and not plates, but simply the fabric lays down like that. It is logical to compare with a finger, it also has a print pattern, like a tail. By the way, beavers' tail prints are also unique: landscapes, and actively form them. No, herbivores often rearrange the landscape for themselves, for example, the same bison trample fields for cereals near a watering hole, which creates a positive feedback to increase the population size. More eat - more space for cereals. But this process is quite long, and beavers cannot wait that long. And in a fairly short period of time, the so-called "beaver landscape" appears around their habitats. The landscape tends to self-propagate: after all, in the second year, the beaver cubs get a slap on the back of the head and go to colonize new lands. In the litter of our countrymen beavers, on average, there are 2-3 beavers.


Scheme from the work “Regional ecological features of the European beaver population with an assessment of its impact on the steppe biocenoses of the Orenburg region” by E.V. Ustabaeva.

The territory is divided by different families along the border bumps. A beaver digs up such a border sign, and then from time to time renews it with his smell. Intraspecific aggression is quite high: as soon as a “newcomer” appears on the territory, beaver wars begin.

But let's get back to the landscape. In short, it is generally useful on the metric of “biodiversity enhancement”.

Here is another quote from the same work by Ustabaeva:


And one more quote:


Here you can ask what will happen if a beaver gets to human infrastructure in its terraforming. Well, there are many such cases, and I can only note that beavers are very persistent in shutting up everything that infuriates them. Here's another great quote:


Beaver spills have been known to flood and wash away streets and railroad tracks, and even cause wrecks.

Extermination and restoration of beavers

Because of the very soft fur that Russia was so famous for - and the beaver stream, which served both as a bait in traps and the basis of spirits, plus meat suitable for fasting - in general, because of the increased concentration of a pile of valuable things in one animal - over a larger area the beaver's planets were nearly wiped out. The protection of steam locomotives and tracks, power lines and so on was also added - in general, everything that required at least some kind of outlet pipes that could be quickly plugged with stones and sticks so as not to enrage.

In 1932, a small colony was found near Voronezh, about 20 individuals were caught. In 1934 the first beavers were born. It seemed that this was a great success: on this base, it was decided to restore a valuable beaver and resettle it throughout Russia. But before doing anything, it was necessary to study the full life cycle of the beast in order to effectively breed it. In 1935, a biological station was founded (more precisely, a beaver farm, an experimental beaver nursery of the Soyuzverebreeding Rabbit Breeding Trust).

To give you an idea of ​​the level of thinking of biologists of those years, 5 Canadian beavers were brought to support our beavers. Such a healthy cool beaver, only with a different number of chromosomes. Strange, but the Canadian with the Voronezh did not give offspring, although with the same foreign sires such a trick usually rolled.

Very quickly they began to find out vital things: running water is needed, otherwise there will be many parasites; our beavers are monogamous and pair for life; just like that, a random couple will not interbreed, only out of mutual love and only under water in the winter in the cold, and so on. The conditions of detention have changed, now we have come to such enclosures indoors:

As you understand, the success of reproduction does not depend on the sex ratio in the colony and not only on the number of reproductively mature individuals, but also on the composition of pairs.


2/20 - the second beaver born in 2020, a brown female. 1486 is wild, he was caught without a passport, so he does not know or does not say the year of birth, he was given the serial number of a wild beaver. 1/21 - a beaver, the color is already known, but the sex has not yet been determined exactly, it is difficult to establish until about a year and a half.

So, as soon as two young ⁰ are determined that one of them is a boy and the other is a girl, it becomes possible to introduce them. To do this, they are planted in a box, divided by a lattice. Then they wait for about a week, whether they will sleep with a jack, face in a warm tail, like a healthy family:

If they started, on Monday, when there are fewer visitors, the wedding ceremony of raising the bars begins. Several employees of the nursery stand nearby, one with a wooden shovel. If the beavers are nice and accommodating, you can relax and start celebrating. If suddenly someone doesn’t like something, it can end in a very bright and memorable fight with injuries, so you need to immediately insert a shovel between the beavers, and then screw both in the spirit of “paws behind the head” and lower the grate. After a couple of weeks, these animals can be introduced to other possible pairs.

More interestingly, here they learned to re-assembly pairs, that is, they partially overcame monogamy. If beavers do not give birth for 3-4 years, then they break up a couple and try to find a new partner for each of them using the same shovel technology. The main thing to remember is that assembling the old pair back is possible only after a couple of weeks, because the female is able to insert such epic cradles to the "spree" beaver for the smell of a strange girl, so that he will remember for a lifetime.

As a result, 2757 beavers in the nursery went through overexposure (where they were cured), and another 1500 were born in captivity. In captivity, a beaver lives 15-25 years, in the wild - 5-17, as you're lucky.

The population is currently restored, beavers live almost throughout the country, where there is a suitable climate. From the state of about a thousand individuals in 1918, everything looks a couple of orders of magnitude better.

I highly recommend watching beavers in the nursery at the Voronezh reserve (there is also a beaverarium - an aquarium for a pair of beavers, and it is better to come there in the evening, because they sleep during the day), on Losiny Island in Moscow and, of course, if you want to see them in the wild for their usual activities and just look at them for hours from 20-50 meters - then in the "Bazhovskie Places" near Yekaterinburg on the Black River. The best time is April, beavers are very active, they have a lot of things to do, there are no beavers yet, so they pay little attention to people. As a result, they even bring groups of schoolchildren there all April, and nothing, the beavers are kind.

And with us today were Vladislav Oleinikov from the Voronezh Reserve and Sergey Sanatin from Bazhovskie Mesto.

Everything. Beaver everyone!

Why a dog eats sticks


A beaver dog or how to deal with eating sticks

No wonder they say that every dog ​​is a real box with a secret, inside which there are a lot of amazing surprises, sometimes confusing the owner. Take, for example, food preferences. Each dog owner will remember the situation, like a dog, refusing tasty and healthy food in a bowl, gobbles up leaves on the street for both cheeks or gnaws sticks and tree branches with the frenzy of a hereditary beaver.

If the pet suffers from such whims infrequently, it can be attributed to curiosity or attempts to play. It is much worse when such behavior becomes obsessive, and any walk turns into a systematic eating of green spaces.

When You Shouldn't Worry

If your pet can't live a day without a wooden fetch, merrily catching up with a stick thrown by you or proudly carrying it in his teeth during the whole walk, you shouldn't worry. In this case, the piece of wood for him is just a toy with which he satisfies his hunting instinct.

Some especially gamblers pounce on a stick, in an attempt to disassemble it into the smallest threads, and the place where he cracks down on an imaginary enemy, after a few minutes, resembles a branch of a sawmill. If in the process of chewing your pet spits out chips, you can also breathe easy. All you risk is a cluttered space around your pet, however, this problem is easily solved with a broom or a vacuum cleaner.

It is worth sounding the alarm when chewing sticks turns into an obsessive ritual for the dog. In this case, she not only walks from tree to tree, nibbling on all parts of green spaces that she can reach, but, most importantly, swallows sticks and chips. Such a pastime is not as harmless as it seems at first glance. Let's first understand what are the reasons for this behavior:

  • Gastritis. Painful sensations can cause dogs to eat inedible objects, possibly to numb the pain.
  • Fiber deficiency. An unbalanced diet or high protein feeding results in a lack of fiber in the animal. Despite the fact that this vegetable fibrous tissue is practically indigestible, its benefits in the nutrition of dogs are enormous. It helps to cleanse the stomach, improves peristalsis, and accelerates the cleaning of the anal glands. Eating branches and sticks, the dog often tries to make up for the lack of fiber in the body.
  • Micronutrient deficiencies. Another reason why a dog can turn into a beaver. One can argue about which elements are missing for a long time and to no avail - unfortunately, no analysis will show you this with a high degree of certainty. Veterinarians say that zinc or iron deficiency may be the reason for such taste preferences and suggest filling it with vitamin preparations or a specially selected diet.
  • Worm infestation. Intoxication caused by internal parasites, as well as metabolic disorders, can cause perverted appetite. In addition to branches and sticks, the dog in this case can eat any other inedible objects: rags, plastic or stones.
  • Curiosity. If a puppy tries sticks, most likely this is due to his natural curiosity, attempts to learn a new interesting world. In addition to the sticks themselves, the puppy tries to chew on everything that falls into its mouth, from rags to the owner's shoes. With proper training, this passion disappears by 8-10 months, and with improper training, the damage from the pet will be such that you will remember the sticks last.
  • Cutting teeth. During teething, the dog's gums itch unusually. In order to reduce discomfort, the dog tries to scratch the gums on everything that comes across the tooth. In these cases, the dog can also swallow wood fragments, but this happens sporadically.
  • Excitement. Often getting carried away in the game, the dog can go into a rage and, biting off pieces from the fetch, swallow them. The same behavior is observed if the dog guards the stick and is afraid that it will now be taken away.
  • Gastronomic tastes. There are real gourmets among our four-legged pets who like the taste of wood. Most of them do not eat all the branches, but prefer one kind of tree - cherries or young Christmas trees. Dog owners notice that many pets are simply crazy about frozen wood and eat branches only in the winter season, crunching a cold treat like ice cream.
  • Boredom. What can you do to entertain yourself, your beloved. So our shaggy fidgets, being alone for a long time, are looking for a hobby to their liking. Often, this activity becomes nibbling wooden interior items or garden trees on the site.
  • Toothache. With the help of biting on hard objects, the dog may try to numb the pain in the tooth. The main symptom of this condition, apart from sore gums, may be poor appetite.
  • Hormonal imbalance. In anticipation of estrus or pregnancy, a bitch may change not only her appetite, but also her taste preferences. During this period, dogs may eat seemingly inedible items.
  • Mental problems. Perhaps the most common and difficult to diagnose cause of eating branches. Thus, the dog can seize stress, insecurity, fear.

Attempts to chew and swallow pieces of wood are not as harmless as it might seem at first glance. Here is just a small list of horror stories that threaten your favorite four-legged beaver:

  • Splinters. The danger of driving a splinter is relevant not only for the gums and tongue - the mouth, despite the resistance of the animal, can at least be examined, and a thin wooden fragment can be carefully removed. Much worse if a sharp chip digs into the walls of the stomach or rectum. This is fraught with an inflammatory process of the peritoneum and subsequent surgical intervention.
  • Intestinal obstruction. A large amount of small chips that enter the gastrointestinal tract of an animal can cause intestinal obstruction or perforation of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Vomiting. Unfortunately, the animal's stomach is not able to digest such a quantity of roughage, which is why it is not uncommon for a dog to feel sick after a walk with half-digested sticks. In addition to the understandable aesthetic rejection, this situation is also dangerous because, going out, the sticks can get stuck in the larynx.
  • Infections. Sticks lying on the street can hardly be called clean. They may contain not only eggs of worms and pathogens of various infections, but also chemicals or toxic substances, for example, reagents or rat poison.
  • Aggression. Protecting your favorite toy, the dog may be aggressive towards relatives or even the owner. It is clear that the problem should be solved with the help of training, but it is the attitude to the stick as food that can provoke such behavior.

It would be better for everyone if the dog did not get used to chewing sticks from the very puppyhood. Unfortunately, this is practically impossible - it is impossible to isolate the animal from green spaces or forbid it to play with branches or pieces of wood. If playing with sticks becomes obsessive, and your pet, instead of spitting out the chips, chews and swallows them with pleasure, we recommend trying the following methods to combat the bad habit:

  • Keep your mouth busy. A dog carrying a bag, ball or favorite toy in its mouth is unlikely to let it out of its mouth to taste even the most appetizing stick. And do not forget from time to time to captivate your four-legged friend with a game of catch-up, throwing an aport and allowing him to be found and taken in the teeth again.
  • Switch. Seeing that the dog is grinding another log with passion, invite him to play or train with you. The main thing is that the business that you offer in return should really please the pet and interest him much more than thoughtless devouring.
  • Ruin the taste. If your pet tries teeth on the legs of chairs or parts of benches in the yard, you can smear the wooden parts with something bitter. A solution of levomycetin or mustard is ideal, which, in addition to an unpleasant taste, also has a pungent odor.
  • Shut up. If the pet is in the habit of eating fruit trees or shrubs in the garden, just cover the green spaces with a net of sufficient height that it cannot jump over.
  • Replace. If the cause of active chewing is the baby's cutting teeth, provide him with a sufficient number of items that can scratch the gums. It is better if these are toys made of strong materials, from which it is impossible to bite off a single piece.
  • Change the power supply. Fresh vegetables and fruits are a storehouse of not only vitamins, but also fiber that is necessary for the dog's body. It is enough just to pamper your four-legged friend with an apple or a cabbage leaf every day and the desire to gnaw and swallow the branches will come to naught. If the cause of undesirable behavior is a vitamin imbalance, enter vitamin preparations into the diet.

If the dog has already grabbed the stick and is chewing on it, in no case do not shout or scold him - for fear of punishment, he may try to swallow the chips as quickly as possible. This is fraught with injuries to the larynx or strangulation of the animal.

In order to wean a pet from eating wooden objects, professional trainers recommend following the following scheme:

  • Total control. For the first time on a walk, literally keep your eyes on the dog, trying to prevent its desire to grab a stick in its mouth. At this stage, it would be good not to let the dog fly free, but to lead it on a long leash and in a muzzle - so you can influence the animal at any time, if necessary. To consolidate the skill, you will need from several days to weeks, depending on your contact with the dog.
  • Praise. After a while, when the skill is fixed, loudly and sincerely praise the dog for every moment of indifference to the stick. If the dog makes attempts to grab the piece of wood, again strictly forbid it from doing so. During this period, you can let the dog off the leash, however, it is recommended not to remove the muzzle for the time being.
  • Fragment control. The dog is free-range, but the owner controls it from time to time. Sometimes relapses can occur, and the pet again remembers the bad habit. In this case, it is recommended to return to the previous paragraph and refresh the animal's memory of what you want from it.
  • Training. To improve mutual understanding between the owner and the dog, we recommend that you train your pet. This will greatly increase the effectiveness of educational work and give you the opportunity to better understand the dog.

Alas, the desire to gnaw something in dogs is dictated by instinct. A person cannot completely deprive a pet of the pleasure of trying the world around him. Our task is to ensure safety during games and walks - this is the main thing that the owner should think about.

A dog nibbles a tree: highlighting physiological and psychological causes

Contrary to popular belief, four-legged taste preferences are much wider than they seem. Pets eat grass, dig up worms, love fruits, sometimes they even eat pebbles, and to some extent, all this is normal. When a dog chews on a tree, does it enthusiastically and persistently, the owner begins to worry ... and for good reason.

Just note that it is simply impossible to stop the desire of dogs to gnaw anything. In puppyhood, these tendencies are much more pronounced, but they do not disappear when the four-legged grows up. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure the comfort of the ward, in this case, toys that can be chewed.

Remember! If a dog gnaws on a tree, especially the bark, innocent-looking entertainment can end tragically. At best, the pet injures the gums with splinters. At worst, swallowing a large piece of bark, the dog will suffer from perforation of the stomach or intestines.

Motivation

Every action, even if it is illogical and strange, has a reason…if we are talking about an average, mentally healthy dog. Even if we are talking about a mental disorder, there are also reasons, but everything is more complicated here, below we will consider such situations in a little more detail.

In a global sense, the causes can be divided by origin:

  • Behavioral or pathological.
  • Mental - that is, behavior depends on obsessive phobias or discomfort caused by something.

Please note! It is normal for dogs to chew and gnaw on wooden sticks, but the animal should not swallow wood fragments.

Physiological reasons

The first behavioral reason is exploring the world . It is normal for a baby of any species to sniff and taste unfamiliar objects. Given the curiosity of puppies, anything, including a tree, can get into their teeth. It is worth noting that wood has a smell and taste, which only incites an inexperienced pet. For example, a tree of fruit varieties has a sweetish taste and a pleasant smell. The oak is a bit tart and smells a bit bitter, which isn't too bad for dogs.

When a puppy grows up, he has a very good reason to gnaw everything - the baby has itchy gums, because the molars are being cut. During this period, the owner has a choice:

  • Provide the puppy with safe, durable and non-toxic toys. Treat your pet with special treats on a regular basis.
  • Watch closely so that the puppy does not chew through wires, swallow a fragment of a stick, chew shoes, etc.

Getting a little older, the puppy learns what passion and passion for the game is. The kid willingly fools around with relatives, fetches and is very active on walks. During this period, the dog may begin to eat the tree unintentionally, that is, carried away. There is no recipe for such behavior. The only thing that will help you out is toys and attentiveness.

An adult dog lives in a certain schedule and, as experience shows, receives less attention from the owners. Twice walks and short socializing is a minimum program that is not suitable for most dog breeds. Everyday life, which turns into an endless rut, gives rise to boredom. A bored dog sooner or later reaches one of two states:

  • Destroyer .
  • Sociopath - a condition that can be considered as a mental disorder. I am glad that this problem can be solved with games, attention and long walks, that is, socialization.

Destroyers behave unacceptably, but they do it for one purpose - to attract attention . Like "difficult children", difficult dogs suffer no less than the owner. Think for yourself, to what degree of despair do you need to endure in order for punishment to be a joy?

At any age, especially during the period of active growth, the dog may experience physiological abnormalities associated with metabolic processes. As practice shows, even the most experienced pet owners do not always choose a balanced diet. When keeping a dog on low quality food, such problems occur much less frequently, but they are not excluded.

Avitaminosis is a collective term that describes a condition in which the body lacks vitamins or trace elements. The dog feels unwell and almost always hungry. The owner may notice that the pet is drawn to new tastes or eats a full serving of food too quickly. The problem is solved by reviewing the diet and introducing vitamin supplements.

Deficiency of fiber is a common problem in dogs kept on porridge with meat. The natural diet should contain vegetables and fruits, in addition, the dog should have access to grass or other greens. If these rules are violated, the quadruped extracts fiber on its own, that is, from wood.

Indigestion is one of the first things to consider if a dog chews on tree bark. The delicacy is bitter in taste, but has astringent properties. Almost all herbivores use the bark to prevent or stop diarrhea . Carnivores resort to this method in the absence of alternatives.

Worms - the degree of damage depends on the intensity of the infestation. For example, if a dog has not received prophylaxis for a year, it is guaranteed to have vitamin deficiency, problems with food absorption, and possibly dysbacteriosis. In addition to hidden problems, the animal experiences an uncomfortable feeling in the intestines and anus. The four-legged may suffer from frequent constipation or diarrhea, uncontrolled appetite, obsessive anxiety, etc. It should be understood that some helminths live not only in the intestines and can affect the liver, heart, and brain.

Tartar - To remove plaque by chewing wood, this is normal behavior. Adult and older dogs can develop tartar - these are harder deposits that can be found on the cervical region of the teeth. The problem is not solved by cleaning at home, the pet needs the help of a doctor who will carefully remove the stone and avoid injury to the gums as much as possible.

Toothache and inflammation in the oral cavity - in the wild, a dog must cope with his ailments on his own. An inflammatory process in the mouth can quickly bring a wild animal to death due to starvation, high fever, or secondary infection. If your pet is constantly chewing on a tree, he may be trying to get rid of a bad tooth. Having noticed oddities in behavior, show the dog to a doctor to identify cracked or chipped teeth, caries, pulpitis, stomatitis and other periodontal diseases.

Psychological reasons

The desire to eat inedible is a mental disorder, which is commonly called picacism . This is a serious and very deep problem. As practice shows, it is very rare to find the cause and correct the pet's behavior.

Picacism is a violation of the mechanism of nutrition , like anorexia in humans, in other words, when a dog eats inedible things, its unconditional instinct is broken. The reasons why such violations may occur are:

  • Hunger experienced - usually dogs not only eat everything, but also hide supplies.
  • Life in a shelter or on a quarantine site in conditions of high competition for food - even a short period is enough.
  • Violence as a puppy or young.
  • Severe stress eg handover or death of owner.
  • Traumatic brain injury, neoplasm or other brain pathology.

Please note! One can speak of mental disorders only when all physiological problems are excluded.

My dog ​​likes to chew on sticks. What could be the consequences?

It's hard to imagine a dog that would never chew anything. Of course, puppies are especially guilty of this, because trying everything on the tooth is their way of knowing the world. But often the habit of chewing everything is also found in adult animals.

At a time when there were no toys for dogs on sale in Russia, almost all owners offered their pets to chew on sticks. After all, the tree cleans teeth well, has a pleasant taste and smell for the dog, and besides, such “toys” of the owner will definitely not ruin the owner. But is this hobby as safe as it seems at first glance?

Of course, if the dog only gnaws on wood without swallowing it, there may be less unpleasant consequences. But they should also be taken into account.

First of all, picking up a stick from the ground, you cannot know if it contains poisonous substances and harmful bacteria. Secondly, when chewing on a stick, your pet can splinter the gums and palate, because our four-legged friends are quite tender. And if, while playing with a stick, the dog does not spit out the chips, but swallows them, then there is a good reason to be wary. The sharp edges of the wood chips can injure the esophagus, stomach and intestines and cause acute obstruction. Yes, and such behavior suggests that the animal has problems that should never be ignored.

What can make an adult dog swallow wood? There are many reasons for such behavior. They can be divided into 2 categories: physiological and psychological.

Physiological causes include:

  • Avitaminosis. If your pet does not get the required amount of vitamins and minerals from the food, he will try to get them by any other means from the environment. Particular attention to the balance of nutrition should be paid to those who feed the dog natural.
  • Lack of fiber. Fiber is necessary for our four-legged friends for the proper functioning of the digestive tract. If the dog lacks it, all sorts of problems with the stool begin in the first place. There is a lot of fiber in vegetables, fruits and greens, including grass - all this should be added to the animal's diet.
  • Indigestion. Tree bark is rich in tannins, which can lead to constipation. In the wild, predators without access to other means often gnaw at the bark.
  • Presence of parasites. Worms not only greatly disrupt the digestive tract, but also cause beriberi and allergic reactions, such as itching of the rectum and anus. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that when they are present, the dog swallows chips: with their help, it seems to be trying to “scratch” from the inside.
  • Problems with teeth. With a toothache, animals also often gnaw on wood, although they rarely swallow it. Thus, they try to get rid of a diseased tooth or tartar deposits that irritate the gums.
  • Similar behavior is possible with brain tumors and injuries, but they become the reason for eating sticks much less often.
  • Negative experience of the past, experienced hunger.
  • Maltreatment in puppyhood.
  • The desire to attract the attention of the owner.
  • Severe stress.

As you can see, all the listed reasons are quite serious. So if you notice that your pet is maniacally chewing sticks and swallowing wood chips and this happens regularly, you should consult a veterinarian.



Why dogs shouldn't be allowed to chew on sticks

Almost all dogs love to play from puppyhood to old age. One of the favorite pastimes of many dogs is considered to be playing with a stick found on the street - a fallen, broken off or sawn off branch of a tree. Moreover, such a toy, as a rule, is also welcomed by the owners of animals, since, firstly, the stick consists of natural wood, and secondly, it is completely free.

Dangerous stick games

Can dogs chew on sticks, should we fearlessly let our beloved pets play with them? In short, sticks are not safe toys for pets, let's look at why:

    Allowing a dog to play with a stick outside can never be sure that there are no pathogenic bacteria or viruses on its surface . There is a possibility that a stick picked up from the ground was recently gnawed by an infected animal. But what about a stick that the owner will pluck from the tree just before giving it to his dog? Well, this is also not the best toy, as it can also contain dangerous germs left by birds or insects;

A stick picked up from the ground may contain eggs of endoparasites - helminths . They will gladly penetrate the dog's body, significantly worsening the quality of life of the animal;

It is dangerous to chew sticks for puppies during the teething period, when their gums are very aching . Any stick (even one that is plucked from a tree growing in one's own garden) is not without impurities that can cause severe inflammation of already suffering gums;

According to [1] veterinarian Jason Nicholas, sticks often cause dogs to get lacerations to the lips, punctures of the tongue and palate . During the game, the wood gets stuck in the gums and leaves scratches on the tooth enamel (loss of a tooth during biting the wood is not excluded). It is also worth noting that animals can injure their sensitive nose when playing with a stick;

It also happens that a dog eats sticks and not just chews them. This may cause injury to the pharynx, larynx and trachea [1] . In addition, swallowing large amounts of wood is fraught with blockage of the stomach and intestines [1] . If a dog chews on sticks too often, he may have constipation, nausea, and other unpleasant problems;

A sharp stick during gambling can pierce a dog's chest, possibly causing injury to the diaphragm, lungs, or heart [1] . And when a stick penetrates into the stomach, damage to the liver, stomach, spleen, gallbladder, intestines, and bladder is possible. That is, a game that is harmless at first glance can cost an animal its life;

It is impossible to exclude eye injuries, damage to the nerves and blood vessels of the organs of vision [1] when the dog plays with a stick. In addition, a sharp and long stick, hitting the eye, can even penetrate the brain of the animal [1] , which is fraught with too serious consequences;

The owner is not always sure which stick from which tree his pet gnaws. The fact is that the bark of certain trees and shrubs is extremely poisonous to dogs [2]. So, for example, contact with the wood of yew trees [2] can lead to disastrous results in the form of convulsions, severe vomiting and bradycardia, even death is not ruled out;

  • Some dogs that love to nibble picked up sticks while walking continue their "fun" game at home biting the wooden legs of tables and chairs. Such fun makes the home look unattractive, and the owner has to spend money on repairing damaged furniture or buying new furniture.
  • Well, it turns out that sticks are not so harmless. And in some cases, they can even cause death, depriving the animal of the most precious thing - life.

    How to wean a dog from chewing sticks

    It is quite obvious that a stick, although simple and completely free, is far from being the best toy for an animal. How to eliminate a dog's interest in sticks? You can try the following actions:

      To switch the dog's attention from sticks to something else, it is worth buying a variety of toys in the form of balls, squeakers, rattles, plates (or others). It is important that they are made of quality materials and do not have parts that a pet can easily bite off. Let the toys be available to the animal at any time;

    When you go out for a walk, take some dog toys and treats with you . As soon as the animal shows interest in the cherished wand, he should immediately be offered a toy. If the dog takes the toy, forgetting about the stick, it will have to be praised and treated. By the way, it’s great if the animal knows the commands “Fu!” and “No!”, and besides, it also obeys its owner. It will be much easier to “negotiate” with a trained animal;

    During a walk, it is worth switching the dog's attention from sticks lying on the ground to something more interesting. You can offer the dog any interesting game , for example, the same catching up or catching a rubber ball. The owner is required to set a good tone for the game, that is, you need to be on the same cheerful wave with your pet;

    A dog that likes sticks can be outwitted . To do this, you need to take a few fairly thick sticks without sharp edges (it is better if they are plucked from a tree, and not picked up from the ground). The wood of these several sticks must be smeared with something bitter, such as mustard. If you do this trick for several days, the dog will most likely refuse to chew on sticks in the future, believing that they have all become, for some unknown reason, very tasteless. In addition to mustard, you can use special sprays that help wean animals from chewing on everything. Such funds are sold in pet stores;

    Some dogs do not chew sticks for fun. Their body simply requires plant foods containing vitamins, minerals and fiber. Perhaps the owner should reconsider the diet of his animal, including vegetables and even some fruits. If there is no desire to adjust the menu, you can consult with a veterinarian about taking vitamin preparations;

    Some dogs may be affected by this trick. Take a small spray bottle filled with clean water for a walk . If the animal grabs sticks from the ground without responding to the “Fu” and “No” commands, a small amount of water will have to be splashed on the nose of the naughty animal. Most likely, after such a “shower”, the pet will release a stick from its mouth. Of course, you can spray water on the muzzle only in the warm season;

  • In the center of a large metropolis, there are not so many sticks lying on the pavement.

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