|Abstract or Summary
- This report summarizes the results of a field study of a population
of the Pacific mountain beaver, Aplodontia rufa pacifica, from
August 1965 through August 1967. The study site consisted of a 13. 5-
acre grid on a logged over area in the Coast Range Mountains of
Benton County, Oregon. The report also includes new data on the
postnatal development, growth, and behavior of two litters of
mountain beavers born and raised in captivity.
The field study involved the mark-release-and-recapture
method using a rotational system of live-trapping on a weekly basis.
A total of 5, 144 trap-nights yielded 872 captures of 181 individuals.
Of this total, 109 were adult animals and 72 were juveniles Males
outnumbered females 61.9 percent to 38. 2 percent.
Population estimates were determined by direct enumeration
and, ranged from a low of 41 in mid-winter to a high of 54 in July. Densities varied from 2.60 to 3.43 animals per acre. Transients
made up a considerable portion of the catch. Longevity records of
5 to 6 years were estimated for wild mountain beavers.
Adult males had an average home range size of 0.80 acres,
adult females 0.42 acres. The home range of juveniles averaged
0.31 acres. Males made longer forays during the summer months
when activity was also at a peak. Overlapping of home ranges was
Male Aplodontia were in breeding condition throughout January,
February, and March. Estrus females were available by about mid-
February. Lactating females were observed from 8 April through
27 May. Young Aplodontia are weaned at 6-8 weeks of age and
emerge from their burrows the following 2 weeks. The earliest date
of capture of a young in the field was 3 June.
The growth curve of the young was characterized by a rapid
increase during the first 8 weeks, followed by a gradual decline,
and eventually reached a plateau in 4 months at 69 percent of the
Animals were classed as juveniles, yearlings, or adults based
on their body weights, character of pelage, and breeding condition.
Aging of mountain beavers on the basis of weight alone was considered
impossible due to the wide range of size within each age
class. The average yearling weighed about 710 g, or 88 percent of the adult mean weight of 806 g. Adult males were consistently
heavier than females. The largest male weighed 1130 g; the largest
female weighed 1070 g. The body weights of adult Aplodontia were at
a seasonal low during their reproductive period in the spring and at
a high in mid-summer when food was most abundant.
Attempts to breed Aplodontia in captivity were unsuccessful
due primarily to the hostile behavior of the females.