Beavers are animals that have been known to man long time ago. Archaeologists that carried out some excavations near stones found necklaces, knives, bronze weapons and a picture of this animal.
Most people have the opinion that beavers are hardworking and have amazing abilities, and such deserves respect. Beavers fortunately can be found in almost all parts of the world, even in large cities.
Beavers like to settle in areas flooded with water. In such waters, ducks, pond fish and PADS can also be found. However, if the population of beavers becomes too much, their activities might result in waterlogging and this may lead in loss of many species of trees.
Bites: Not poisonous
Nutrition: Trees, plants
Movement: Do not fly
Size: 70—80 cm of an inch
Life span: 15-20 years
Region:Found throughout U.S. and other countries
Beavers are the largest rodents in the northern hemisphere with massive short body whose length is 70-80 cm and at times might be 1m. The weights of the older large males can be up to 30kg, but their weights are not up to that of females which are larger. Their paws are short and thick, and are longer at the back than the front. Beavers have the ability to clearly manipulate objects, all thanks to its strong toes and fingers. They can run very fast (about 7 km/h) while in water because they have web like foot.
Beavers have a unique specially shaped tail, which is like a paddle in shape and is flattened in a horizontal shape. When swimming beavers makes use of its tail as a control or steering. A beaver can swim under water for up to five minutes.
Beavers have small gorgeous ears that are covered with fur and are barely
Beavers fur are beautiful and comes in various colours like light brown to complete black. Their hairs are up to 5cm long. In general, a beavers fur is durable and resistant to moisture because it must keep it warm anytime it finish swimming and from the freezing winter.
Beaver’s teeth are large and reddish-brown in colour. Their teeth points out of their mouth and are specially designed on the upper lip making it possible for them to chew and gnaw under water without fear of swallowing it.Like other rodents, beaver’s tooth grows throughout their lifetime. Enamel covers the front incisors teeth and the back teeth are made up of soft dentin, so the more a beaver gnaws and chew, the sharper its teeth.
Where do beavers live? Beavers are animals that are typically living near small water or in waterlogged areas such as streams, lakes and marshes. However, beavers shun broad and rapid rolling rivers. The presence of deciduous trees is important for these animals as well as grassy vegetation that constitute the basis of their diet.
How long do beavers live? If all things are equal, a beaver can live between 15 – 20 years, although they might live up to 24years.
Beavers are very active in the evening and during the night. In summer and when sun sets, they come out of their hiding place and works from 4-6am. When they forage for winter during the fall, their working hours are extended to 10-12hrs. During winter, beavers reduce their activities during the day and are seldom seen due to the weather. When the temperature remains below -20oc, the animals remain in their homes.
Beavers are fond of digging holes at the bank of rivers. Their burrows entrance is always under water. Beavers dig up burrows from underground vertically up through the surface of the earth. Outside of their burrows can be up to 3m high and 12m at the base.Beavers live as family, typically 5-8 animals in a burrow, a couple of adults and their young. Beavers are very clean animals and always keep their dwellings clean from garbage or faeces. The entrance to their house is always under water and in this way if a predator tries to destroy the roof of their burrow, they have already gotten underneath water to hide.
Depending on the abundance of food in an environment, a beaver family occupies from 0.3 to 1.5 km and more of a river.
Why do beavers build dams?
Beavers build dams often in small rivers, streams and swampy forests. This makes it possible for beavers and other small animals to raise or lower the water level so that the entrance to their residence is not open to predators.
Tree trunks, stones, branches and clays are arranged around a beaver’s settlement. Beavers usually take their building materials with their teeth and their paws. The whole of beaver’s family work together in constructing a dam. Also sometimes, other families living close by work together to build the dam.
The typical length of a beaver’s dam is usually 20-30 meters and a height of about 2meters. However, with great work and more skilfulness applied, beavers can build dams that are hundreds of metres long. In New Hemisphere, a U.S state, a record has been kept of beaver’s dam with a length of 1.2km.
But building a dam isn’t easy. A dam needs to adapt to certain conditions and the water levels needs to be adjusted. Swedish and French zoologist, Wilson and Richard respectively, made the greatest discovery and contribution to the study of beaver’s behaviour when building dams. They discovered that the main motivation for the building of dams by beavers is the sound of the water. Gifted with excellent sense of hearing, beavers unmistakably determine the direction of the water sound and with this, they change the structure of the dam. The sound of water is not their only motivation. When the dam has gotten a crack that is silent, the beavers quickly discover the leaking in the dam and cover it up with branches and mud.
Reproduction in beavers. Beavers are monogamous in nature. They usually mate from mid-January until the end of February. They usually mate under water and after 3 months, their offspring are born. They usually breed about 1-6 pups per year. Their offspring weigh normally 0.5kg and can start swimming after a couple of days. When they reach 3-4 weeks old, they begin eating vegetarian foods, usually soft stems of grasses; however, they continue feeding on milk for up to 3 months.
The young offspring of beavers live the life of unity and they work with the adult beavers repairing lodges, dams, and gather pieces of food for the winter. They stay with their parents for up to two years. When they are matured sexually, they leave their parental home.
What do beavers eat?
Beavers are herbivorous in nature. In summer, their diet consists of many aquatic plants such as water lily, white lily, cane, Iris, etc. However, beavers forage for food among trees mostly. They don’t eat alder and oak but use them in the construction of dams. Beavers love eating acorns.Beavers climb trees and chew it resting with their tails and climbing on with their hind legs. They press the wood with their top cutter teeth while their lower jaw moves swiftly from side to side with a speed of 5-6 motion per seconds. Beavers chop down about 40 cm trees diameter daily. The tree trunks that Beavers gnaw have the same characteristic and looks like an hourglass. When a tree falls, beavers bite off the branches. They immediately eat parts of the trees branches together with the foliage. If they need wood for construction, they scatter them to pieces and take them for construction.
With autumn approaching, beavers begin foraging for foods for winter. They drag branches to the reservoir. They bury foods in the ground and weigh them down with stones or sticks under shores. With these, they keep all the necessary food and properties until February. Beavers normally preserve huge amounts of food, mostly 60-70 cubic metres per family.
Are beavers harmful or of benefit? As a result of the activates of beavers, special landscape are built with high level ground water and lots of hygrophilous plants. This modifies the environment of the animal and the activities of these creatures can cause harm or good.Well, due to their activity of constructing dams and other activities that regulates water levels, it can make water to fill large areas of forests and destroys them. Sometimes it is discovered that beavers dams causes flooding and destroying of highway. There are also some other cases of damages to manmade structures caused by beavers dams. Some of the results are flooded gardens and houses. If beavers settle near your home, then be ready because eventually they will destroy your trees with their sharp teeth.
One of the benefits of beavers is when they settle in the upper levels of rivers. Maintaining a high level of water in the upper level, beavers promote more water across the river and make the seasonal flow of water equal. With this, they contribute positively to the flow of water in large areas.