Floods Sweep Beavers Out of Dams and Into The Suburbs

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2012  |  Updated 6:33 PM EDT
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Floods Sweep Beavers Out of Streams, Into Suburbs

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Hurricane Sandy swept water into many Arlington neighborhoods - and, apparently, wildlife that usually live in that water found themselves carried along for the commute.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington said it took two reports of undoubtedly confused beavers found wandering in Arlington neighborhoods. They speculate the beavers had been temporarily flooded out of their homes.

“We don’t get many beaver calls at all, so two in one day was very unusual,” said the Animal Welfare League’s Susan Sherman. “It was definitely due to the weather.”

Arlington has been home to between six to 12 beavers each year for the past 10, said Arlington County Naturalist Greg Zell. There are two beaver lodges in in Roach’s Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, and others build dens in the banks of streams. But the beavers found in Arlington tend to be transient, kicked out of colonies along the Potomac - and they don't stay long.

One of the two storm-displaced beavers spotted this week wandered off, and the other was captured by Animal Control, found to be in good condition, and was set free at Gravelly Point, near Reagan National Airport, the League said in a press release.

Zell speculated that the two beavers who strayed into neighborhoods in the wake of Sandy were temporarily flooded out of their homes. “They were inconvenienced, like the rest of us,” he said. “Now that the storm is gone, they’ll go back to their homes and refurbish them.”

In September, a rabid beaver was reported in Springfield, and earlier that month an 83-year-old woman was attacked by one while swimming in Lake Barcroft in Bailey's Crossroads. In July, 11-year-old and 8-year-old sisters were attacked by rabid beavers near Sorbie Cove in Louisa.

However, there was no sign these recently sighted beavers were ill.

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