Reports and Documents
Furbearer Resources Technical Work Group Website»
Beaver continue to grow in size throughout life, and weights in excess
of 60 or 70 pounds do occur when foods are abundant and accessible during the entire year.
Unlike many other species, females are as large as males of the same age, and they sometimes
are larger. A paddle shaped, leathery tail, positively identifies the species. An adult's tail
is usually about 10 inches long, and 5 or 6 inches wide, with a thickness of 1/2 inch in the
Human-Beaver Conflicts Beaver populations in Vermont increased by more than 130% from 1980 to 1990, a result of less trapping pressure. The creation of new dams and expansion of beaver dams within existing wetlands, although beneficial for many
other wildlife species, can create problems for humans.
As stewards of Vermont?s wildlife resources, we are interested in
maintaining, whenever possible, the valuable wetlands in Vermont that
support species diversity and vital ecological processes. We also know
the public needs the best information available for managing problem
situations that result from beaver activity.
Best Management Practices for Resolving Human-Beaver Conflicts provides information on ways to reduce the risk of property damage and minimize the impacts on water quality and important wildlife habitat associated with beaver ponds, wetlands and streams when beaver and beaver dams are
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Coyotes are wild canines, with dog or wolf-like features. Weights are
slightly heavier for males, with average weights in the western states of about 30 pounds
for males versus 25 pounds for females. A coyote immigration has impacted eastern states
since the early 1950's and the eastern coyote is now recognized as a true breeding
subspecies of coyote. The eastern coyotes do attain larger body weights than western
coyotes, and this may reflect hereditary traits as a result of cross breeding between
northern coyotes and eastern timber wolves. Weights of over 60 pounds have been recorded
for some eastern coyote males, although the majority weigh between 30-35 pounds.
Coyote Factsheet »
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Male bobcats are slightly larger and heavier than females. Most adult males
weigh 20 to 22 pounds, while females average 18 to 19 pounds. Individuals may be much larger
at times, especially in the northern states where many mature males may weigh 30 pounds. The
heaviest recorded bobcat was taken in Maine and weighed 76 pounds. Bobcats have short tails
of 5 to 6 inches in length. The underside of the tail is whitish, and there is a black spot
near the end of the tail. Lynx can be confused with bobcats in northern areas, but the lynx
tail is totally black, top and bottom, over the entire end of the tail.
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Fisher are usually dark brown in color. Males oftentimes have a lighter
grizzled coloration on the face, head and over the shoulders. The longer guard hairs
in the fur are 1 1/2 to 2 inches on the body and 1/2 inch longer on the tail. The fur
on males is much coarser than on the females and both are darkest on tail and legs.
Two small, white patches of fur are found in the front armpit areas. Males may
measure 36 inches or longer and adult males often weight 10 to 12 pounds. Males
rarely weigh more than 14 pounds. Females weigh about 1/3 of the average weight of
males and most females are about the size of large mink, although their longer fur
makes them appear to be larger. Typical females weigh between 4 and 5 pounds.
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Mink have 34 teeth, with 4 prominent canine teeth to help in the killing
of prey species. Mink have rather long and supple bodies with relatively short legs. There
are 5 toes on each foot which have partial webbing between toes. Tails are fully furred.
Males are larger than females. Overall lengths of males are 20 to 30 inches, and females
measure 16 to 21 inches. Male weights exceed 3 pounds in many areas and females usually
weigh 1 1/2 to 2 pounds.
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The muskrat is classified as a rodent because of its four incisor teeth in the
front of the mouth. The two upper and two lower incisors overlap, allowing them to
self-sharpen as they are used. Folds of skin behind the incisors allow a submerged
muskrat to cut vegetation without getting water into its mouth. The size and weight
of muskrats varies with regions, and the quality of food available. Southern muskrats
average around two pounds in weight, and weights of three and four pounds are common
for muskrats in the Northern states. Most adult muskrats attain a length of 22-25 inches,
including the nearly hairless tail.
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Raccoon weights vary from region to region. Generally, raccoons attain larger
weights in northern states and lighter weights in southern states. Most adult male
raccoons in northern states weigh 15-18 pounds during fall harvest seasons, with females
averaging 2-3 pounds less. In some southern harvest areas, mature males weigh 9-10 pounds
with females from the same areas weighing 8-9 pounds. Occasional specimens in northern
states may weigh 30 pounds. Several individual raccoons have been taken from the wild
weighing more than 50 pounds, but whether these animals have been fed as captives is
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Otter have long, slender bodies with relatively short legs. The neck is long and
muscular, as is the tapered tail. Otter fur is considered as a short haired fur. Guard hair
lengths are about one inch with under fur lengths of about 3/4 inch. Coloration is brown, with
chocolate colors common in southern states, and darker colors common in northern states. Otter
from all areas are lighter in color on cheeks, throats and bellies.
Males are larger than females. Adult males may measure 48 inches in length, and weigh up to
25 pounds. Adult females are usually 4 to 6 inches shorter, and seldom weigh more than 19 pounds.
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Average adult striped skinks weigh 6 to 8 pounds, although body weight might be
significantly heavier in late fall as the skunks attain layers of fat to sustain themselves
through winter. Spotted skunks are much smaller, usually weighing 2 or 3 pounds. Males of both
types are slightly heavier than females. All striped skunks have a white stripe on the head
between the nose and the forehead. A white crest, or cap, is typical on the top of the head,
and a continuing white stripe usually divides over the shoulder area into two stripes that
continue along the sides of the animal into the tail. The amount of white coloration varies
with the individual skunk, with some having broad stripes, narrow stripes, short stripes or
even none at all.
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Canada lynx are medium-sized cats, measuring 30-35 inches long and weighing 18-23 pounds.
They have large feet that help them walk on snow, long legs, tufts of hair on the tips of their ears, and black-tipped tails.
Lynx are especially adapted for hunting snowshoe hare, their primary prey, in the boreal forest.
Lynx are native to Vermont but at the southern limit of their range in North America.
However, Vermont has less suitable habitat than Maine, where there is a breeding lynx population.
Lynx and hare depend on low-growing conifers such as spruce, balsam fir and cedar as core habitat.
The lynx is federally listed as a threatened species and listed by Vermont as endangered.
Federal law provides a six-month jail sentence and $25,000 fine for killing one.
Recent evidence of a lynx was found in northern Vermont.
Hunters and trappers are urged to read "How to Avoid Incidental Take of Lynx,
While Trapping or Hunting Bobcats and other Furbearers," »