The following blog by our wonderful guest Mike Digout explains the “what could be” in a future where Scottish folk and Scottish beavers live in harmony. Mike is lucky enough to live in Canada with a thriving beaver population and a relationship with our beaver friends like no other.

Follow below as Mike explains what its like to be up close and personal with these amazing engineers!

Talk about up close and personal (Photo by Mike Digout)

“Hello, my name is Mike, and I’m a beaver-holic.

I know that is probably not a word, but I am not sure what else to call someone who leaves the house every day, rain or shine, to sit by a busy beaver pond and watch Canada’s funny, National Symbol doing beaver things. I have always enjoyed nature and wildlife, and was thrilled to discover a family of beavers had taken up residence in a small pond of their own creation, right in the middle of our bustling city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The first time I sat down next to the pond, I watched a large adult beaver eating and swimming, and it gave me joy. I started returning to the pond each day, and as I visited I realized there was an entire family of seven beavers living there; two adults, two sub-adults, and three kits. Watching the beavers on a daily basis has been a fascinating journey of discovery for me. These large furry rodents are remarkable in how they adapt their environment to their own needs. This family has created a series of five dams and ponds in a gully leading from our university grounds to the South Saskatchewan River; creating an aquatic oasis of nature and wildlife in what would otherwise be a non-descript piece of land.”

Theres no doubting the hard work of a beaver (Photos by Mike Digout)

“Beavers are fascinating.

They have an innate understanding of the flow of land and water, and innate engineering skills to take whatever rocks, mud and branches they can find to control the water levels to meet their needs. I have watched “Momma Beaver” make countless trips to the bottom of the pond to scoop up mud from the bottom and then place it strategically on her dam or lodge for strength and fortification. This not only fortifies their beaver-made structures, but also deepens the pond enough to prevent it from freezing all the way to the bottom during winter. I am not a beaver expert, but I know that beavers are considered a keystone species; and Wikipedia tells me that means that the actions of the beavers create and support environments that allow other species to thrive. From my window into the beaver world, I have witnessed the truth in that claim. Although I visit the pond for the beavers, I have spotted so many other species who use the pond as a source of water, shelter, transport, or food. Mink, weasels, voles, chipmunks, mice, snakes, frogs and countless varieties of birds have all found utility in the magical ponds these beavers have created. I have come to love this particular family of beavers.”

Hard work deserves a snack (Photo by Mike Digout)

“I get great joy from watching them do beaver things.

Like dam-building, chewing trees, slapping their tails, grooming their fur, and wrestling in the pond. But I also know that beavers are not always welcomed by everyone. Their efforts to adapt the environment to their needs bring with it the felling of trees, and the accumulation of water in places where there may not have been water before. The degree of impact and the negative effects this can have will depend a lot on the particular environment they have decided to call home. Personally, I think the incredible benefits that beavers bring to their surroundings, and the positive impacts beavers have on both flora and fauna means that getting rid of beavers is not the answer. There are ways of allowing beavers and people to co-exist, and to mitigate the larger problems that beavers can cause. The arguments for and against beaver control, and the best methods to mitigate the problems they can cause are beyond my knowledge. But as someone who gets great joy from watching this beaver family, and from having witnessed the incredible impact one beaver family can have on so many species of flora and fauna around it, I think that governments and agencies who are responsible for these issues need to do everything they can to allow beaver populations to thrive for the benefit of all.”

Mr Beaver and two kits (Photo by Mike Digout) 

“Don’t forget, this fabulous furry creature is Canada’s National Symbol, and 37 million Canadians can’t be wrong.”

For more information from Mike and his amazing photography and experiences follow him on Facebook and Instagram.