I am the Dear Abby of beaver identification

Hello faithful readers. It is spring, the time when beaver-like mammals, and websites devoted to beaver-like mammals, come out of hibernation. We are awake! At this time of year some people are praying for bountiful summer harvests. I pray for a bountiful beaver season. Let’s make 2009 the best year yet for BLM sightings! To get things started, we have this wonderful submission from Minnesota. Yay, a new state! BLM fever is spreading. It’s the new swine flu:

Hello.

My name is Rachel and I think I might have a sighting. I did not personally see this creature, but my boyfriend and roommate did earlier this evening. I guess it was stocky, and the story is that it was running around our back yard and quickly jumped into the tree you see it in. It appeared to have a bushy tail. So I am just perplexed. They also said that it could probably take on our dog (who is a 40lb 3 year old beagle) so I think it is probably 20-30 lbs or maybe more. The picture is from far away, but if you zoom in you can get a pretty good look at it. We can’t figure out what this thing is! I live in Mankato, MN (located in the south central part of Minnesota) Let me know what you think!

Thanks!

Rachel

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Well, Rachel, I have spent a lot of time looking at beaver-like mammals and have become quite adept at identifying them. It seems clear to me that what your boyfriend and roommate saw is a Tasmanian Devil.

According to Wikipedia, the Tasmanian Devil has a “squat and thick build”, which is consistent with the word you used – “stocky”. In addition, the Tasmanian Devil stores body fat in its tail. In my professional opinion, your boyfriend and roommate did not see a bushy tail, but rather a fat tail. You are very lucky to live in close proximity to a creature that is so rare in the midwestern portion of the United States.

Please note that although a Tasmanian Devil can run as fast as 8.1 miles per hour for short distances, it is no match for a dog.

Thanks for writing!

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