I always thought beavers were rather harmless (except to your local pond environment) cute, little, furry creatures that one might happen upon swimming out on the pond or across a lake one day. I’ve seen them in this area and I’ve seen them years ago at my grandmother’s home which had a rather large man-made (and fish-stocked) pond out back. Beavers are mascots in many places. In my own hometown the Beaver is the local high school mascot, but that’s not germane to this story.
Apparently the other day a man was fishing and supposedly minding his own business (I’m raising one eyebrow here, you just can’t see it) when a monster, gigantic, 40 lb beaver came after him – literally attacking him and biting him on the arm and doing quite a bit of harm. I’m not making this up – here’s the link – it’s a true story.
At first I thought it was hysterical – c’mon we’re talking about a rodent for cryin’ out loud — here’s this guy fishing and he obviously gets too close to a beaver’s den and mama comes after him. Then I saw the article and got to thinking about it and while it’s still funny in ways, I do feel sorry for that guy. He had to get rabies shots. Ick Factor 10.
You see I had no idea whatsoever that beavers got that big – I mean my dog EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer, weighs 75 pounds, so this beaver is roughly half the size of her…and that’s just danged big.
So I go out to that fabulously scholarly and worthy site (yes that’s sarcasm) Wikipedia and look up “beavers” and I found out these puppies can get as big as 55 pounds and you DON’T want to mess with them. But then again messin’ with beavers could lead to a whole ‘nother story and we just don’t want to go there… (think Tiger Woods)…so focus here people…I’m talking about an ANIMAL, not…well…you-know. Ack, how do I get myself out of this….
Oh – so back to Wikipedia and what do I also find – some very interesting tidbits on beavers. For example…did you know that from beavers come something called castoreum, a “bitter-tasting secretion with a slightly fetid odor contained in the castor sacs of male or female beaver” and it’s used in medicine and in perfumes? Yup – the castor sac of the male beaver happens to be located in his lil ole testicles (poor guy) and some Bubba grabs said beaver for those testicles. Yikes! Furthermore, beaver testicles were imported from the Middle East (read: Lebanon and Israel) from the 10th all the way up to the 19th century for medicinal purposes. Double yuk. Ewww, I can just picture the instructions on the Apothecary jar now: “Tincture of beaver balls….use sparingly.” Ack. Ack.
But what bothers me most of all is this “secretion”, castoreum is still used in perfume production. So ladies, gents, think twice before you spritz yourself as you get ready for your date — you could very well be using Eau de Beaver…sigh…