Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 81–95

The social role of scent marking in beaver (Castor Canadensis)

  • D. Müller-Schwarze
  • Susan Heckman

DOI: 10.1007/BF00987529

Cite this article as:
Müller-Schwarze, D. & Heckman, S. J Chem Ecol (1980) 6: 81. doi:10.1007/BF00987529


Beaver colonies with close neighbors constructed more “scent mounds” than did isolated colonies, and the number of scent mounds at each active lodge is correlated with the distance to the nearest occupied lodge. The scent mounds were typically located at trails, also on lodges and dams. The beaver rebuilt experimentally removed scent mounds. Experimentally scent-marked unoccupied lodges were less often visited or inhabited than unscented control lodges. Resident beaver responded to artificial scent marks near their lodges with aggressive behavior and increased activity. We conclude that scent mounds serve in delineating family territories and are effective in deterring transient beaver from utilizing existing but uninhabited lodges.

Key words

BeaverCastor canadensisdeterrent functionfield experimentscent markingterritory

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Müller-Schwarze
    • 1
  • Susan Heckman
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and ForestryState University of New YorkSyracuse