Beavers are harmful to humans

info fauna
Swiss Center for Fauna Cartography (SZKF / CSCF)

During the bathing season, many swimmers ask themselves whether it is not dangerous to encounter a beaver while swimming. If you look for information on this on the Internet, you could definitely say YES.

If you follow a few rules of conduct, a meeting with a beaver can turn into a wonderful experience of nature.

What do you need to know and what should you watch out for when you encounter a beaver in the water?


When can you meet a beaver in the water?

  • Beavers overslept during the day under construction. As a rule, they leave between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. In winter it is pitch dark, in summer it is bright as day.
    • During the day it is therefore unlikely that you will encounter a beaver.
    • There is a good chance that you will encounter a beaver only in the early evening hours.
  • When the temperatures are very hot in midsummer, beavers often do not leave the burrow until after sunset.

What should you do if you encounter a beaver swimming?

  • Meet a beaver on the Limmat, the Aare or in Lake Constance: Don't swim towards the beaver but continue swimming calmly.
  • Draw attention to yourself by saying something to the beaver. However, do not hit the water.
  • If you move close to the bank and the beaver comes towards you between the bank and you, keep calm and avoid the animal "space".
  • Beavers often swim towards you to see what is swimming in the water in front of them.
  • Sometimes they hit the water with a trowel and dive down. This is a natural behavior to warn family members or to scare you as a swimmer.
  • Beavers react like all other wild animals: if you corner them and make them feel in danger, they can defend themselves vehemently.
  • Beavers are used to the presence of people at river or seaside swimming pools. They know that humans are not a threat to them. Provided we humans behave correctly.
    • One has lived in Marzilibad in Bern since 2013 Beaver family. Swimmers regularly report that they swam down the Aare with the beavers. Despite the thousands of bathers, there was never an accident.

What is absolutely essential to avoid!

  • NEVER right in front of one Beaver castle swim or even dive into their entrance. If a beaver emerges from the den just then, an accident can occur.

And dogs!

  • In contrast to humans, dogs pose a great danger to young beavers. Young beavers are regularly killed by dogs.
  • The young beavers are born between April and June and leave the den for the first time when they are around 1 month old. Then they weigh 1-2 kg and depend on the protection of their parents.
  • They go looking for food with their parents and often eat a quiet, sheltered place on the bank
  • If a dog shoots down the embankment as if from a cannon and jumps into the water, this means the highest level of danger for mother or father beavers - they go on to attack.
  • Serious incidents between dogs and beavers have occurred several times in Switzerland.
  • Even dogs the size of a Labrador draw the short straw against a full-grown beaver and they often end up at the vet.

Therefore: Do not leave dogs unattended on the waterfront, especially in the early rearing season for beavers (May-July), it is best to keep the dog on a leash. To protect the beaver, but also to protect your dog!


Can beavers transmit disease in one bite?
Beavers are not carriers of diseases that they can transmit in one bite. However, since the incisor teeth can penetrate deeply, it is advisable to consult a doctor in any case to discuss the further procedure.

Tetanus pathogens (Clostridium tetani) transferred through the open wound. Therefore, the vaccination status must be queried in the event of a bite injury and, if necessary, refreshed.