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PAWS Mailing Address:
PO Box 1037
Lynnwood WA, 98046

PAWS Street Address:
15305 44th Ave W
Lynnwood, WA 98037

                                                                                                  May 4th, 2005
Kevin Mack

Not Quite Seaworthy
by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

On April 19th, 2005, a young beaver spent the day swimming in Puget Sound near some waterfront homes in Seattle. Beavers and saltwater do not mix, and the animal eventually came ashore in a weakened, lethargic state. At that point, concerned residents captured the beaver and brought him to PAWS for evaluation and treatment. He was entered into PAWS database as case #05-0364.

Other than some minor foot abrasions, and 2 small cuts at the base of his tail, Beaver 05-0364 had no serious injuries. His time in the saltwater had taken a toll, however. A crusty, milky-white discharge came from his right nostril, and he was dehydrated and disoriented. After administering subcutaneous rehydrating fluids, the wildlife staff placed the beaver in a freshwater pool. According to the beaver's chart, he drank "copious amounts of water" when placed in the pool. He swam well, but he was still very weak from his day spent in the sound, and it took him nearly a week to recover fully.

Beavers generally live in colonies that are comprised of family units. Young beavers often disperse from the colony to seek out their own territories when they reach sexual maturity at about two years of age. We can't know for sure, but this is likely what beaver 05-0364 was doing when he took a wrong turn and ended up in the sound. On April 29th he was released into Lake Washington in an area that provided him both with good habitat, and many routes for safe dispersal if he chose to leave the area. The following photos, many of which were taken by PAWS Humane Educator Julie Stonefelt, tell the story of his release:

Beaver
Beaver 05-0364 enjoys a meal in his cage at the PAWS
Wildlife Center.

Beaver
A close-up view shows that the beaver has eaten through the
outer bark and has also ingested the living, green layer
(cambium) beneath it.

Beaver
A close-up view of the beaver's most distinguishing feature.

Beaver
At the release site, the carrier was placed about 6 feet from
the water, and the door was opened.

Beaver
Those six feet turned out to be a little too intimidating for the
beaver to cross when he knew humans were standing close
by. I moved the carrier to the water's edge and the beaver
immediately exited.

Beaver
The beaver waded through shallow water, making his way out
into the lake.

Beaver
He climbed over a log, presenting a good view of his 30+
pound body.

Beaver
Once he cleared the log the beaver was in deeper water. He
was now free to swim, and he picked up the pace.

Beaver
The beaver dove, and his forward progress could then only be
tracked by the trail of bubbles rising to the surface from his
fur.

Beaver
The beaver resurfaced in the distance and disappeared into a
thick tangle of branches overhanging the water of his new
home.

Wild animals released between April 20th and April 30th, 2005:

1 Cooper's Hawk
3 Eastern Cottontails
1 Varied Thrush
7 Mallards
1 Blue-winged Teal
1 Virginia Opossum
1 Silver-haired Bat
1 Purple Finch
1 White-crowned Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
1 Beaver

68 wild animals have been released since the beginning of 2005.

      All rights reserved. 2005 Progressive Animal Welfare Society