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Beaver Marsh Trail - #4 - Mammals



 

Beavers

Beavers

They have large, currently active beaver lodge in the Beaver Marsh preserve. Beavers are often nicknamed nature’s engineers. Not only do the dams they create help control water flow, but they also influence interactions between many different species in the area and purify water. They also help to keep water within the wetland region and reduce the impacts of erosion, floods, and droughts. Beavers use mud and branches to build these lodges and eat leaves, bark, twigs, and roots. They are primarily nocturnal which is why they are not often seen.

 

River Otter

Otter have long, streamlined bodies, short legs, webbed toes, and long, tapered tails—all adaptations for their mostly aquatic lives. River otters avoid polluted waterways, but will seek out a concentrated food source in urban areas like the Beaver Marsh.

Unlike beavers, they are active day and night. They are not very fond of humans. As a result, in order to watch river otters in the wild, one must be extremely quiet as otter have a very keen sense of hearing and smell.

River Otter

 

Muskrat

Muskrat

Their name comes from their smell and rat-like appearance. They live and slow-moving waterways, including marshes, beaver ponds (like the Beaver Marsh), reservoirs, irrigation canals and ditches. Muskrats make a valuable contribution to aquatic communities, by harvesting plants for food and den sites, they create open water for ducks, geese, shorebirds, and other wildlife.

 

Coyote and Foxes

These animals are often seen negatively by popular culture but actually play an important role in wetland ecosystems. They do so by preying on many different organisms including, snakes, frogs, mice, rats, birds, rabbits, and even deer helping to control populations.

Coyote

 

Whitetail Deer

Deer are prominent members in North Carolina wetland ecosystems and can run at speeds as high as 30 mph. Although whitetail deer help to control overgrowth of plants, shrubs, etc. over population of deer is a concern in some area. Coyotes can help play a role in reducing overpopulation.

Whitetail Deer

 

 

More Info

Headshot of Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D.
Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D.

Looking for even more information?

Check out Nicolette Cagle's September Wildlife Report

Check out Nicolette Cagle's September Wildlife Report

Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D. is a passionate ecologist and environmental educator on the faculty of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. She provides periodic Wildlife Reports on the flora and fauna in the Ellerbe Creek Watershed.

 



 

Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
331 W. Main, Ste. 511
Durham, NC 27701
919-698-9729

These web pages are the Eagle Scout project of Mathew Jacob.
Thanks Mathew!