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About Beaver: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior

Beaver is included in the group of larger semiaquatic rodents that are known for being nocturnal primarily. Normally these animals are noted for building canals, dams and lodges and after capybara these are known as the 2nd largest rodents in world. Their groups are known for making one or more number of dams so that deeper and still water can be provided against predators also for floating food as well as building material. Interesting point to mention here is that population of North American beaver was once 60 million plus, but it declined gradually. The credit for this decline in population goes to excessive hunting for the purpose of fur, medicine, perfume and other different reasons.



As mentioned above beavers are mostly noted for their natural dam building capability upon streams and rivers also they build their homes which leads to creation of ponds. Interesting point to highlight here is that these animals can even build canals for floating building material which is not easy to haul over the region of land. They have stronger anterior teeth which are used for cutting plants and other trees and prior to building lodges it is important for beaver to build dam.

Habitat
It is not easy to guess that beavers normally prefer to live near ponds, marshes, streams and ponds. They are known for building lodges of mud and sticks on the banks of ponds or shores of lakes. Dams of beavers are shaped like dome and can attain the height of ten feet. There is one larger chamber and one or two different entrance points. Chamber’s floor is above water level and normally woodchips are covering it for the purpose of absorbing moisture. One point to note here is that all beavers don’t build burrows some also built lodges.

Diet
There are three elements which are normally present in the diet of a beaver and it’s made from bark of tree and the cambium and this is actually one of the soft tissues which normally grow under tree’s bark. More specifically they prefer to go with willow bark, birch, maple, cotton wood, aspen, poplar and beech.

Life cycle
Normally beavers mate for lifetime, but in situations where death of one partner takes place the other will seek a new one. Mating takes place when a beaver is 3 years old. The season of mating continues from January to March in regions that are cold. There is a gestation period of three months associated with these animals and one litter kits are born per female between the months of April and June. Prior to birth female will make a softer bed in her home. Interestingly the eyes of babies are open at the time of birth and they can swim within 24 hours and within a time period of few days you can see them visiting the exterior of lodge with parents. Both male and female take the responsibility of taking care of their young ones. Kids’ will live their parents for two years and beaver can live for 20 years of age.

Behavior
These animals prefer to live in the form of groups and families. Colony is normally made from breeding female beaver, male beaver and offspring. Territories are normally marked by building mud piles and these are marked with scent. Worth mentioning point here is that beavers can leave negative as well as positive impact upon environment. Building of dams leads to the creation of newer wetland environment for other living creatures. Some of the positives associated with these wetlands are being mentioned below
  • Soil erosion is slowed down
  • Water table is raised and water gets purified
  • They can also play their part in succession.
Once beaver leave their lodges ponds get occupied with aquatic plants and the whole place will reflect the appearance of meadow. The shrub will give sufficient shade for permitting the seedlings to prosper and after the growth of tress the entire region will turn into woodland. Dams which are built by beavers can also become a source of greater trouble because they have the capacity of slowing down water flow in stream and can also contribute towards buildup of silt. In the low lying areas flooding also results so you better be careful and must take into consideration all these points.

Appearance
Beaver is known as one of the largest North America rodents and normally its structure shows that it has been built for water. Adults can reach up to four feet in height and their weight is near 60 pounds. Hands and legs of beaver are webbed and tail is almost hairless. While gnawing trees tail plays a strong part in balancing. Towards back of the animal there is dark brown colored fur and towards its sides light colored fur us present. Beaver is known to be a water proof animal and there is a thicker layer of fat present under the region of skin and it keeps the animal warm. There are longer and sharper incisors present towards the anterior side of the mouth of animal and these teeth continue to show growth throughout the life of animal.

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About Beaver: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior