Thousands Around the World Tune In to Snoop on a Beaver Den

A camera set up outside an Alaska beaver dam has been recording in real time.
July 6, 2016, 10:00am
Photo: Dan/Flickr

Imagine if someone set up a camera to watch you sleep. That's essentially what's happened to two beavers living in a den on Steep Creek at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. On first first glance, it's nearly impossible to make out what's happening. Take another look and you'll realize something in there is moving ever so slightly. It's breathing.

Watching the beavers sleep has kept thousands of viewers occupied since June 28, when the US Forest Service installed an infrared camera in the den to record in real time the beavers' activities. As nocturnal creatures, that means sleeping most of the day and getting up periodically to stretch, eat, or relieve themselves. Recommended viewing is between 7 AM and 7 PM Alaska Standard Time.

Natural resource specialist Peter Schneider and fisheries biologist Don Martin initially set up a beaver camera in 2004 to satiate their curiosities about a collection of food outside the beaver lodge on Steep Creek. To monitor the beavers' activities, they set up a camera outside the lodge and even had it insulated throughout the winter.

However, it would take nearly 12 years since then to make the live spectacle available to anyone around the world. The camera has received more than 70,000 minutes of watch time from viewers in America and in foreign countries, with about 15 minutes of watch time per viewer.