These few frames of black and white trail camera footage just might confirm your fear of the dark, or at least it does for beavers. A night vision device sensed movement in mid-September, triggered record mode, and caught something extremely rare on camera: A wolf attacking a beaver.
“The absolute trail camera jackpot,” wrote Voyageurs Wolf Project in a September 29 Youtube post describing the rare predation event. “How amazing is that!?” You can watch the footage for yourself below.
The surveillance video shows a collared wolf in Minnesota pouncing on a beaver four minutes after the furry swimmer comes out of the water, up a slope, then onto the trail. Voyageurs Wolf Project monitors packs in and around Voyageurs National Park, which includes more than 218,000 forested acres near the Canadian border. The area’s Half-Moon pack has a breeding male collared as V094. The footage shows V094 lifting the large beaver with its jaws before dragging the unsuspecting rodent out of the frame.
Nineteen hours after the attack, the same trail camera revealed the result of the wildlife wrestling match. A wolf trots passed the lens with a beaver head in its mouth. A research crew found what was left of the dead beaver a few days later.
Now watch the video again. See that strand of barbwire the beaver has to step over? That’s a hair snare. It’s collecting clumps from animal coats. University of Minnesota graduate student Dani Freund is measuring stress levels in the hair samples collected in snares. If wolf predation pressure causes beavers stress, Freund will find it. A few weeks ago, another trail camera in the same region recorded a wolf lunging at a beaver in broad daylight, but that beaver won that round.