“We’re talking major beaver,” Sally said.
That’s right, a Castor canadensis — the American beaver — has decided to call the murky waters beneath the Geisler’s dock on Lake Barkley home. A gnarled knot of branches — meticulously woven together — runs beneath the full length of the retired couple’s 22-foot boat.
And it is growing.
When Don first noticed the handiwork by the beaver (you can call it Betsy — Sally does), he engaged his dock’s hydraulic lift. Much of the beaver’s dome, wedged between the boat’s pontoons, was lifted out of the water.
“I hate to disrupt an animal,” said Don, a retired high school history teacher, “but when it comes down to him or me…”
Betsy the beaver, though (Fun Fact No.1: Because beavers have no external sex organs, sexual identification can be difficult, unless a female has pups of nursing age), was not perturbed, and continued to add to her abode.
The Geisler’s were first alerted to the beaver’s new home several weeks ago, when some fishermen on the lake brought it to their attention.
The fishermen supposed the beaver had relocated from nearby Boat Haven, which is around a cove from the Geisler’s. They suggested that construction there had disrupted a beaver that had been known to call the area home.
The Geisler’s have yet to catch sight of Betsy (Fun Fact No. 2: Mostly active at night, the best time to catch sight of a beaver is dusk or dawn).
Don said the branches are quite difficult to remove. In other areas where beaver dams have caused flooding, explosives or bulldozers have often been required to dislodge the dam (Fun Fact No. 3: The beaver is North America’s largest rodent, but is more closely related to squirrels than it is to mice).
Don had been hoping that if he lowered his boat back into the water, he could simply float over the debris. That plan, however, was temporarily put on hold.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.