Mountain Beaver!

May 28, 2009

So…This guy lives in our backyard:

Mountain Beaver

Mountain Beaver

We’ve seen him scurrying around back there four times already in the last couple of months. Each time, he pokes his head out, sniffs the air, then creeps out, cuts off a nearby piece of fern, and runs it like hell back to his burrow.

Wikipedia says that the mountain beaver, AKA Aplodontia rufa, is “the most primitive extant rodent” and a “living fossil.” And it’s in my own backyard!

A face only a mother could love

A face only a mother could love


7 Responses to “Mountain Beaver!”

  1. Dale Says:

    Hopefully, all the additional “traffic” won’t be more than this mountain beaver can handle…
    They are generally shy , retiring types that most folks have never heard of much less seen. Good work spotting this one. I’ve been interested in them for a long time and if anyone gets curious to find out more about them, I’ve kept a journal you can visit here:
    I’m always interested in more observations, questions, photos etc too.

    Rock on!


    • Bob P Says:

      I would like to know if they are active at night or during the day? I was on my way to work and it was still dark out and I saw something running in the road and I could not avoid it and ended up running it over. After I hit it I was not sure what it was so I stopped and backed up and got next to it and it was about 8 inches long and had dark brown fur and 2 teeth that stuck out. Do you think that is what I ran over? I live in WA State.

      • shawncita Says:

        Hi Bob,
        I’m so sorry you had that experience, how awful for you! I’m guessing that could have been exactly what you hit. I’ve read these little guys are active off and on during any 24-hour period, and we’ve seen them in the daytime and at night. We’re in Seattle, and have one in the backyard!

  2. shawncita Says:

    Hi Dale!
    I loved browsing your website – thanks so much for including it! We have at least three entrances to burrows that we have found so far, relatively close together–two under our big red cedar and the other a bit further away beyond a patch of laurel. We have really had fun watching this little guy (we guess? assume? it is just one!) – most recently spotted last week as he trundled out of his burrow, over a cement wall, down the side of the house and into an overgrown brushy area at least 100 feet away!
    We’ll keep our eyes peeled and let you know if we are able to photograph him.

  3. […] July 5th, there has been a 5,400% increase in traffic for the Mountain Beaver post I shared at the end of May. 5,400%!!! This guy is a veritable rock star, with 124 views in the last […]

  4. […] 11, 2010 A few fun items: 1. This mountain beaver (from 5/28/2009) has been the single-most viewed topic within this blog. 2. I have posted on this […]

  5. […] folks, it’s that time of year again! As reported last year and the year before, the return of spring in Seattle brings the return of my furry, football-shaped friend: the […]

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