Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 1349–1364 | Cite as

Responses of beaver (Castor canadensis Kuhl) to predator chemicals

  • Axel Engelhart
  • D. Müller-Schwarze


Free-ranging beaver (Castor canadensis) in two different beaver populations in New York State were exposed to predator chemicals to test feeding inhibition. Solvent extracts of feces were applied to stem sections of aspen, the preferred food tree of beavers, permitting smelling and tasting the samples. Predator odors were from wolf (Canis lupus), coyote (Canis latrans), dog (Canis familiaris), black bear (Ursus americanus), river otter (Lutra canadensis), lynx (Lynx canadensis), and African lion (Panthera leo). The experiment was repeated. The predator odors reduced feeding compared to untreated or solvent-treated controls. One population consumed 17.0% of the samples with predator odor and 27.0% of the controls in summer, and 48.4% and 60.0%, respectively, in autumn. The other population accepted 3.15% of the predator odor samples and 11.05% of the controls in summer. Coyote, lynx, and river otter odors had the strongest effects. Diesel oil and bitter-tasting neem extract had weaker effects. Predator odors are promising as feeding repellents for beaver.

Key words

Adirondacks Allegany State Park allopatric aspen beaver Castor canadensis feeding inhibition Populus tremuloides predator odor repellent sympatric 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Engelhart
    • 1
  • D. Müller-Schwarze
    • 1
  1. 1.SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuse

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