By MIKE CORN
Mel Madorin certainly can't talk to the animals, but he thinks a beaver stranded out of water Wednesday might have been iced out of his home in Big Creek, and perhaps became a bit dehydrated.
The whole incident started Wednesday when Hays animal control officer Pam Jones was notified of a reclusive beaver -- a sight not often seen out of water -- waddling through the west side of Frontier Park. She called Capt. Mel Madorin over at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Together, they used catch-poles, basically dragging the high-and-dry animal back over to the banks of the Big Creek, which runs alongside the park.
"He was more concerned in making sure we didn't touch him," Madorin said of why the catch-poles were used.
One they make it to creekside, there weren't any holes evident that would provide access for the beaver to get back in its home.
"I don't know if it was iced out," he said.
That's when a hole was broken and the beaver brought to the water.
"I thought he might have been dehydrated," Madorin said, "and sure enough, he started drinking heavy."
It's not known, however, if that's the problem, or if there was something else wrong with the young adult.
Madorin said Jones saw the animal back out of the water Wednesday evening, but it was not out and about Thursday morning when she checked back in.
If he's spotted, it's likely he'll be moved.
"I'll move him off to a better location away from people," Madorin said.
That way, the animal will be out of harm's way from people who frequent the park and no people will be endangered.
Beavers aren't normally aggressive, Madorin said, but like any other animal, they will bite when cornered.
Other than the possibility of being a bit dehydrated, Madorin said the animal appeared healthy.
"If there is something wrong with him, it's not real apparent," he said.
Beavers are a common feature along waterways in the area, including Big Creek, and are known to inhabit the area running through the Fort Hays State University campus.
"Normally, you don't see them," he said.
If the beaver returns to dry land, Madorin said its best to leave him alone and either Jones or KDWP should be called.