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Science

Watch a rescued beaver meticulously build an indoor 'dam' out of random household items

Sawyer's ongoing struggle with SpongeBob SquarePants' legs is a must-see.

beaver dam, wildlife rescue

Sawyer checks her work once in a while as she builds her hallway dam.

The fact that beavers build dams is one of nature's coolest features. Gathering and stacking tree branches, rocks, grass and mud across a river so they can build their homes underwater is a unique instinct among the animals—and a strong one.

Apparently, it's so strong that beavers will build dams anywhere, including inside a human's house using whatever items they can find.

A video shared by Dr. Holley Muraco, director of research at the Mississippi Aquarium, shows a female beaver named Sawyer busily gathering stuffed animals, blankets, Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and more to build a dam in a hallway, and it's seriously the most delightful thing ever.



Sawyer pauses once in a while to assess her work, which is adorable. And her ongoing struggle with SpongeBob SquarePants' legs is a must-see.


If you're concerned about seeing natural animal behavior like this in an unnatural habitat, don't worry. Muraco explains that Sawyer spends most of her time outdoors with other beavers, but also likes to come in the house occasionally. More on Sawyer's life story below, but first, behold her adorableness at work:

Sawyer is one of three orphaned beavers Muraco is rehabbing at her home with the help of Woodside Wildlife Rescue.

"Sawyer is one of a kind," Muraco tells Upworthy. "Very opinionated and, as crazy as it sounds, intelligent. I raised Sawyer on a bottle in our home and then introduced her to Huck and Finn who are a bit older. All three were orphaned separately when their parents were killed. The three were sent to Woodside Wildlife to be raised as siblings."

Sawyer, Huck and Finn. Perfection.

Muraco says Sawyer started building dams in her kennel as a tiny baby and then moved on to building bigger dams in the hallway. She lives outside with Huck and Finn, but she walks to Muraco's back door when she wants to go inside to check on things and build a new dam.

Muraco says beavers are very social creatures and do better living in a group, but are also one of the most difficult animals to rehab. They have to spend up to two years with rehabbers, which is how long they would spend with their parents in the wild, and caring for them is challenging due to their complex and sensitive digestive needs. They are also prone to illness and there's a lot that's still unknown about vet care for them. Muraco says beavers are also considered a nuisance animal, especially in Mississippi, so it can be hard to find a safe place to release them.

In Muraco's care, Sawyer, Huck and Finn get ample opportunities to practice instinctive behaviors, which is a vital element of rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is for them to return to the wild once they meet key milestones.

Raising beavers is a lot of work, but Muraco is dedicated to preparing these young 'uns for life after rehab, both for their own good and for the environment. "Beavers are a keystone species and are often critical for healthy wetlands," she explains. They are misunderstood creatures and are sometimes killed by people who simply see them as pests, which is one reason Muraco publicly shares her adventures with Sawyer, Huck and Finn.

"We are so excited that people are enjoying watching the beavers and falling in love with this unusual, quirky rodent," she says.

If anyone wants to support these beaver rescue efforts, Muraco invites people to donate to Woodside Wildlife Rescue.


This article originally appeared on 01.13.23

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