How to Get Rid of Beavers Humanely

Beavers are smart and industrious, and they possess the ability to transform almost any freshwater environment into a suitable habitat. Because of their adaptability and persistence, beavers are very difficult to control. Beavers can become extremely destructive in some environments, making proper beaver management necessary. Learn how to humanely get rid of beavers and control damage below.

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How to Get Rid Of

1Locate Beaver Activity

Before you embark on a control plan, it's important to become familiar with your beaver habitat and the damage these animals are causing. Knowing where they frequent will help you target the proper areas.

Signs of beaver activity include:

  • beaver dams
  • slides/pathways
  • beaver lodges
  • collapsed bank dens
  • cut-down or girdled trees
  • flooding

Dam construction often causes flooding of waterways, irrigation systems, tree habitats and more. It's important to identify the above signs and take control of beavers before destruction reaches this scale.


2Use a Live Trap

The only non-lethal and effective way to get rid of resident beavers is to physically remove them using a live trap. Trapping beavers takes patience, since many beavers are trap shy. Below are tips to keep in mind:

Beavers have predictable travel patterns, so placement is key. Position your trap along a beaver slide or dam crossover.

Bait your trap with beaver castor or poplar.

Set your trap in the evening to catch nocturnal beavers. Disengage an empty trap in the morning to avoid catching unwanted species.

For more information and trapping tips, read How to Trap Beavers »


3Beaver Exclusion

After beavers are removed from their territory, consider modifying the habitat to make it less suitable for beavers. Keep in mind that beavers have an uncanny ability to manipulate their environments, so keeping them away through habitat modification alone might be a challenge.

Dismantle Dams and Lodges

Breaking down these key structures in a beaver's ecosystem will make it more difficult for them to return. Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • First, ensure there are no beavers left in the area.
  • Use a wood chipper to destroy the building materials so they cannot be reused.

TIP: Beavers are incessant creatures known to rebuild dams and lodges overnight. It's important to repeat this step daily until the beavers relocate permanently.

Wrap Trees

Trees are a beaver's main building material. Wrapping the trunks of trees prevents beavers from being able to cut them down, and as a result may encourage them to move on to another area. To be effective, tree guards must meet the following specifications:

  • 2" x 3" wire mesh or hardwire cloth
  • at least 3 ft tall or 2 ft taller than the highest snow level
  • wide enough to allow for healthy tree growth (leave about 6" between the tree and the wrap)

TIP: Fasten the tree wraps to the trees and to the ground to prevent beavers from chewing them apart.

Install a Fence

Rather than fencing off individual trees, you can install an area fence to exclude beavers entirely from forests, groves or other areas lush with vegetation. Fencing is cost-prohibitive, but it could be very effective in keeping beavers out. There are two suitable types of beaver fences:

  • wire mesh fencing
  • electric fencing

Fencing should stand about 3-4 ft from the ground to exclude beavers and should be maintained regularly.


Expert Tips

Contact your local fish and wildlife authority to learn about the trapping, relocating and habitat modification laws in your area.

Beavers are intelligent and persistent, so the best long-term control plan incorporates trapping, habitat modification and exclusion.

Beavers are defensive and have been known to attack, so it's important never to approach one that is not constrained in a trap.

Another way to modify a beaver's habitat is to install drainage systems that disallow beaver dams from properly controlling water levels. This can potentially drive beavers out but might not prevent new ones from trying to take over the territory. Installing a drainage system is costly and will likely require the help of a hydraulic engineer.

How to Trap

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