2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


North American Beaver Scent Communication

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Emily Wakild


Beavers progress off family dynamics and intent, largely connected to scent communication. The species is great for this study because they are a centralized forager, with a limited activity core. With distinct abilities to recognize and identify kin through phenotype matching accessible by anal gland secretion (AGS). Construction of scent mounds, 2-foot tall mud piles, work as identifiers to a particular family, recognizable by kin, previously familiar or not. Many times, beavers construct scent mounds to separate resident beaver families, delineating territories. With observed variations of frequency among seasons and degree of contact. Proximity to other lodges is a driving factor towards the construction and density of scent mounds at a single-family lodge. Scent mounds work as territorial markers between families, increasing confidence and decreasing anxiety of trespassers. Each beaver colony has a varied territorial vicinity identified by scent communication, usually ranging within a quarter-mile radius. Furthering an understanding of how beavers interact colony to colony with territorial tendencies. With experimental backing for discriminatory behavior towards unfamiliar AGS.

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