Beavers - inhabitants of small forest rivers and streams, reaches and marshes. Sometimes they settle in abandoned quarries, agricultural canals. It can be said that the life of these animals depends on water, because it is here that they feel free and protected. For a semi-water animal, the main thing is that the chosen river does not freeze too deep in winter and does not dry out in the heat, and the current should not be strong so as not to erode the dwelling. And of course, the availability of sufficient amount of plant food is of paramount importance for an animal - this is what beavers eat.
Beavers are the perfect builders
As soon as beavers are determined with the place of residence, they immediately begin construction. And since water is all for them: the house and the source of what beavers eat in nature, family nests are built near the coast.
On the steep bank, the laborers dig holes, on the canopy - they build huts from branches and twigs, carefully cementing them with river sludge. The entrance is always constructed under water to be inaccessible to enemies. Water builders choose a suitable bush, an old stump or a large hummock at the water's edge as a basis, and then throw a bunch of sticks and twigs on top. From the inside, beavers free a spacious niche, held together by clay or silt.
Another structure, no less important for the animal - the dam. Due to it, a high level of water is maintained in the river, blocking access to the entrance to the nest and thus providing concealment and security. Anyway, the dam creates a deep and spacious pond, expanding the space and providing a large variety of fresh plant food.
Feeding beavers at different times of the year.
To understand what beavers eat, it is enough to know that they are typical herbivorous rodents. Therefore, grass, wood, leaves, young shoots of trees, water and semi-aquatic plants are ideal as forage. Animals go on long hikes for food only in the fall, when they make stocks of feed for the winter. Mostly they feed on the territory adjacent to their settlements.
At different times of the year, the nutrition of these animals is somewhat different for natural reasons. In the summer, beavers give preference to fresh grassy plants, happily eating down river grass, leaves and young shoots of trees, and then - stems and even roots.
In the autumn, the answer to the question “what does a beaver feed on?” Changes somewhat. In particular, for those families that live near villages, villages and suburban areas. Then the beavers turn into small robbers, stealing vegetables from the gardens. And if the winter diet is mainly bark and wood harvested from the fall of fallen trees, in the spring it expands due to eating young shoots growing along the coast.
Beavers favorite food
As already mentioned, beavers are herbivorous rodents. So, as scientists found out, the food for them is more than three hundred different types of plants. There is also a favorite food for these wild animals: fleshy and juicy stems of a water lily, pods (water lilies) of yellow, marsh toffee.
Another delicacy of beavers is young willow shoots, aspen twigs and bird cherry trees. Rodents gnaw them about 20-25 centimeters in length from the base and drag them in large bunches to their homes. There they immerse the mined billet in water and cut them with their notched tips into the soft soil of the river. Workers make quite large "bins", the volume of which reaches 2 cubic meters. This is hard work, but in the frosty winter, when the reservoir is covered with a crust of ice, the animals will not have to leave their cozy shelter: you just need to drag the right amount of tasty twigs into the hut.
Knowing what beavers eat, it will be interesting to remember that they are excellent divers. These amazing creatures can be under water for 15 minutes, eating the stems and leaves of aquatic plants! Naturally, nature has given them fleshy, very mobile lips, allowing them to gnaw and not choke. When the beast gnaws greens - what beavers eat under water, lips tightly closed behind powerful incisors.
Every autumn, beavers cut tree trunks and harvest not only bark, but also large branches, pulling them closer to their private shelter. By the way, cracking the bark - what a beaver eats in the offseason - the animal simultaneously undermines its huge front teeth, which grow throughout life.
In the first place, semi-aquatic rodents use food that is close to the holes and huts, and when they run out, they harvest food further upstream. The most delicate and thin branches are eaten on the spot, the larger ones are sent to the village of beavers, and the fleshy bark is nibbled from thick stems. Interestingly, the large size of the trees does not frighten these tireless and voracious animals.
Transportation and preparation of feed for the winter
About the preparation of feed for the future has been a little said, and the beaver family is working on this case from small to large. But the transportation of food produced to the huts is carried out in different ways. If the river is close, the rodents clamp the branch with their teeth behind the thick end and move back to the pond. If the place of wood extraction is located at a great distance, then the beavers over-pull the branches, dragging them to the side of themselves.
During the preparation for wintering, animals harvest about 30 cubic meters of wood, but if the reservoir is rich in aquatic vegetation all year round, then reserves may not be produced. Gnawing a tree, the beavers gradually move around the thick trunk, biting deeper and deeper. Having taken a short respite, the rodent continues to work until the tree is cracked and collapses from its own gravity. The animal gently cuts felled wood: separate wood blocks, separate branches and bark. What is not eaten immediately in place - remains in the bins.
Spring activity of beavers in search of food
What beavers eat in winter is understandable. They do not hibernate, but how do they behave in the spring in search of food? Beavers begin to make the first sorties from their shelters already in late February - early March. Naturally, it leads to this famine, because winter stocks are depleted. At first, landings are rare and short-lived, but as the weather gets warmer, the beavers show activity: they linger on the land longer, spending all the time in search of food. At this time, beavers rarely cut large trees, they mostly look for and immediately eat willow twigs, and if they are lucky, they gnaw the shoots of water and coastal grasses that have appeared.
Beavers summer lifestyle
The summer lifestyle of beavers is directly related to what the beaver eats in summer. Most often, individuals in this period live alone in a temporary dwelling, so each one extracts food in its feeding area. It is already later, with the approach of autumn, the family unites to make wintering supplies together. In the summer, beavers, like other herbivorous animals, enjoy an abundance of greenery in the territory adjacent to the house.
The largest rodent
Nowadays in nature there are two types of beavers: Canadian and European. The differences between them are small, except that the European is slightly smaller than the Canadian. A long time ago, about 5 million years ago, beavers could even measure themselves against the owner of the forest, the bear. The great ancestors of the current rodents have become extinct, and today the builders of dams are much inferior in size to their great-grandfathers.
An adult male beaver weighs approximately 20-25 kg, some warriors reach a weight of 45 kg, the length reaches 1.2 meters. 15-20 cm takes a delightful tail, its width is almost equal to the length. Even this tail is given an important role of the keel - with its help shaggy swimmer adjusts the depth of immersion in water. The ability to see everything under water and perfectly navigate there gives the beaver completely transparent eyelids.
There is still something interesting in the appearance of rodents: the claw on the thumb is split into two halves - this is a gift of nature, so that the animals have the opportunity to comb their wool. Continuing the conversation about the limbs, I would like to note that they help the beavers swim well. Hind feet - with membranes, ducks have the same membranes. Thanks to them, swimmers can reach speeds of up to 10 km / h. The front legs are relatively small, without membranes, equipped with impressive powerful claws, which can be easily dug the ground. Even the front paws play the role of hands - in them animals wear clay, branches.
Fine thick hair and a thick layer of fat under the skin protect the beavers from the cold. The animals carefully look after their fur coats, combing them with a natural comb. Thanks to the oily liquid that special glands secrete, this wonderful fur does not get wet.
The teeth of animals grow all their lives, and if they do not regularly grind on wood, they will reach unprecedented sizes.
Life of beavers in nature is full of dangers. Its duration is on average 13-15 years. In captivity they live 2-3 times longer.
Beaver life in nature
All those animals that coexist with beavers, impose on them a mission to preserve and, if necessary, save water and adjacent forest land. It turns out that with their work, shaggy builders care not only about their well-being, - the peace of their neighbors also depends on them.
The sound of flowing water awakens a passion for construction in beavers, and they begin to act. They can build for days - day and night, more hardworking workers cannot be found. Beavers are beginning to develop a new aquatic area according to a plan worked out over the years:
- A dam is being built that will turn the stream into a cozy and quiet pond.
- A channel system is being created to expand ownership.
- A huge storage room is being built.
- A huge multi-room building with a height of more than 1 meter is being built. The walls of the house are erected half a meter thick.
Only after one week, the house is ready, the entrances are under water to protect the home from enemies. When a beaver works in a sawmill, harvests wood, it is at risk. A tree can fall and pin down a beaver, so only one is sent for building material, and with it, and for food, the rest of the family members are busy with other chores. Good to these loggers! What does a beaver eat? Yes, those from which it builds its dams. Building material is important to mine, but food supplies for a family of rodents need to be made very large.
Faithful spouses and caring parents
In the family of furry rodents loyalty and devotion reigns. They do everything together throughout their lives, reasonably distributing work among all family members. Young people can live with their parents for up to two years, after which children should go to build their own house, trying to find a mate during their wanderings.
Mum-beaver leads in the litter from 3 to 4 calves weighing 0.5 kg each. Toddlers are born full copies of their parents, only small ones. They are already in fur coats with large teeth and delightful tails. After two weeks, the future loggers are already nibbling solid food. What eater beaver eats, then eats and younger. Family idyll in water houses can only envy!
What do beavers eat in nature?
The main menu of these hard-working rodents is herbaceous plants. What beaver eats, often shown in cartoons. In most cases from the screens we see how these animals eat fish. This is not true - aquatic animals do not consume such food. Forces in the logging they spend a lot, they need to somehow replenish in order to withstand such a load. And this is certainly not the fish that helps them!
What do beavers eat in nature, what are their favorite foods? Clearly clear that this is a tree. Favorite delicacies - twigs of alder, aspen, willow. During the day, the beaver eats up to 1 kg of wood. Bark, wood pulp under the bark - this is the best food toothpicks. Small twigs they gnaw entirely, like candy.
Such solid foods are hard to chew, and even harder to digest. The beaver food system is quite ready for this job.
In winter time
How do water workers behave in the cold season, because the reservoirs freeze, everything is in the snow? It is hard for them, but if you prepare well for the winter, then the frost will not be terrible. Most of the time the beaver sleeps in winter. But in order to sleep well and on a full stomach, one family needs to prepare more than a ton of branches for the winter.
In the beaver's hut, insulated for the winter, it is very cozy. That's only when the food ends, the head of the family has to go fishing. The body of beavers is adapted to swimming, and not to plowing snow, so it is very difficult for them in the cold and in snow drifts. Therefore, they all make efforts to ensure that stocks have enough to heat.
The life of beavers is very interesting, there are many curious in their lifestyle:
- Distance under water in 700 meters shaggy swimmers overcome in 10-15 minutes.
- In just one night, the beaver can tumble down and clear a tree with a diameter of 30-40 cm from the bark.
- The area of 3 square meters. km can be inhabited by just one beaver family.
- The largest built beaver dam - 700 m in length, which is a world record. Although in the state of New Hampshire there is a bigger dam - 1.2 km.
- In the city of Bobruisk there are two monuments to the beavers, which is not surprising if you pay attention to the name of the city.
Beavers in Nature
Beavers are hidden, twilight and nocturnal. These animals are especially famous for their construction activities. Beaver huts, dams, underground passages, canals and their other structures sometimes amaze not only with their size, but also with some special meaning erected. Observing the life of beavers, one involuntarily comes to the conclusion that they undoubtedly possess complex and original reflexes that are on the verge of a reasonable one. In addition, beavers are to some extent converters of nature, as under the influence of their construction activity, tiny streams sometimes turn into good water grounds suitable for settling some fur animals, waterfowl (about species of ducks), fish and other representatives of the animal world .
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There are 2 types of beavers - European and Canadian. The Canadian beaver is slightly larger than the European beaver, possesses more developed building instincts and is more prolific. So,
in the litters of Canadian beavers, the number of cubs is on average 4, while in European ones it ranges from 2–3. The maximum number of cubs in the litter, known for the Canadian species, is 7-8, and according to some data even 9. For the European species, this value does not exceed 5.
In the color of the fur of the Canadian beavers, rather noticeable orange tones predominate against the general dark-brown background. In all other respects, both species are very similar and familiarity with one of them allows you to make an impression about the appearance and lifestyle of the other.
By the beginning of this century, as a result of the immoderate intensive fishing, the number of beavers everywhere was severely undermined, and in places - drastically reduced. The stocks of the European species were hit particularly hard. Subsequent perennial bans on the extraction of beavers, their mass migration to unoccupied reservoirs and other activities carried out in many countries, had a positive impact on the numbers of these animals.
And here is the role of the European beaver in the hunting economy of the countries of Europe and Asia, which is still much more modest.
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What beavers look like
Interesting about beavers
The appearance of the beaver is especially characteristic of its unusual tail, which resembles the rowing part of the oar lying in a horizontal plane. Unlike the head and torso, covered with thick underfur and rather sparse guard hair, the beaver's tail is covered with relatively small rhomboid horny scales. And, if the fur reliably protects the beaver from the cold and to some extent from mechanical injuries, the tail is at the same time the wheel while the beast is moving in the water, and the prop when biting trees, and the signal device that strikes the water, the beaver warns about their dangers. Finally, it is an organ that contributes to the regulation of body temperature through the narrowing and expansion of blood vessels.
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The fore and hind limbs of the beaver differ sharply from each other. The front ones are short, tenacious, devoid of membranes, they serve the beaver not only for movement, but also help dig burrows, hold branches, pieces of wood and other objects used to build dams and huts. The hind limbs - longer, equipped with leather membranes, are the main organ of movement of the beaver in the water. On the 2nd toe of each back leg there is a combing claw, which consists of 2 thick horn plates. With these claws with tweezers, the beavers comb out the outer parasites from the fur cover and put it in order.
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Окрас меха у европейских бобров колеблется от светло-бурых тонов до темно-бурых и черных. Больше ценятся темноокрашенные звери. Специалистами было также установлено, что
от черных родителей родятся только черные бобрята, от светло бурых – только светло-бурые, родители, окрашенные в темно-бурый цвет или имеющие разную окраску меха, дают потомство, окрашенное во все цветовые варианты родительских пар и их предков.
Beavers live along the banks of rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, in peat quarries, in swamps. With a low population density, beavers have the opportunity to choose a place to settle, and therefore usually occupy secluded, quiet, full-flowing water bodies, densely overgrown with willows and other deciduous trees and shrubs, with a sufficient set of grassy plants readily eaten by them. After reaching a high population density, beavers settle on fast-growing parts of rivers, in strongly drying reservoirs, less favorable for living. For example,
in North America, beavers have long inhabited relatively quiet areas of semi-mountainous rivers and streams, rising to a mountain to an altitude of up to 3 thousand meters above sea level.
In those places where the reservoirs of the coast are high enough, beavers dig their holes. In reservoirs with low shores, animals settle in root plexuses growing along the shores of trees, or build lodges for themselves.
The beaver burrows have one or more lairs - extensions of underground tunnels lined with wood chips. Underground passages are a complex network of tunnels, with a diameter of 25-40 centimeters, the outlets of which are usually hidden under water.
Beaver huts are cone-shaped structures made of stubs of trunks and branches of trees fastened with silt. Typically, huts arise on the ground collapsed burrows or collapsed cobbles. Outlets from the huts, which are often several, are also hidden under water. The more years there is a hut in which beavers live, the larger its size. Experts had to meet huts with a height of up to 1.5-2 meters, with a width of 4-5 meters or more. In such huts there are several beaver lairs located on floors 2-3. If the beaver family lives in the reservoir for a long time, it may have about 10 holes or 2-3 residential huts, often in combination with a system of visited holes and cobbles.
In the summer, the temperature in the nesting chambers does not rise above +22 degrees, and in winter rarely drops below -4 degrees. The significantly smaller temperature fluctuations observed in the beaver's dwelling than in the external environment allow these animals, quite sensitive to cold, to live even beyond the Arctic Circle.
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Beavers live in families, usually consisting of 2 adult animals, babies of the current year of birth and last year's young. In total, the family can be 6-8 animals. 2-year-olds, as a rule, leave the parental family in the spring, sometimes in the fall, and form their new settlement. In places with limited conditions for resettlement can be found in the family of 2-3 and even 4-year-old animals. In such a family can be up to 16 beavers. On the contrary, where the conditions for the resettlement of the young are not limited, one-year-old animals are sometimes separated from their families.
During the drought, the catastrophic shallowing of water bodies, the beavers of several neighboring families are forced to gather where there is still water. Sometimes in such places there are up to 16-20 or more beavers. It is characteristic that the animals in distress relate to each other comparatively peacefully, while in different conditions cruel fights can be observed between beavers from foreign families.
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Beaver with cubs
Beavers reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age - European ones are more often on the 3rd, and Canadian - on the 2nd. They multiply once a year. The mating period of beavers living in the middle lane occurs at the end of December - the beginning of April, the height of the rut - in January-February. At this time, animals often come to the surface, occasionally leaving beaver streams on excursions. The very act of mating in beavers takes place in water under the ice. The pregnancy of the female lasts from 103 to 107, an average of 105 days. Therefore, the period of childbirth usually falls on May-June.
Beavers are born completely formed, sighted, covered with soft fur. Where the animals are born early, even during the spring flood, newborns can be observed in temporary shelters. 2-4 day old kids hardly move through the den, almost not standing on their feet and staggering from side to side. Bobryat born in permanent homes, especially in burrows, are found with difficulty.
Until the age of 2-3 weeks, the animals almost can not dive, as their weight does not exceed the weight of the water they displace.
At about 1 month, the beavers start to appear on the surface, where young shoots of shrubs and grass are eaten. In 3-4 months young beavers are completely independent animals, with all the habits of adult animals.
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What eat beavers
Beavers feed exclusively on plant food. The general list of their fodder plants approaches 300, but the basis of nutrition is no more than 10–20 species of trees and shrubs, and 20–30 species of grass. Basically, these are various willows, aspen, birch, nugget, poplar, water lily, sedge, cattail, reed, arrowhead ... In trees and shrubs, animals gnaw and eat the green, unproberated part of the bark, the tips of the branches, the leaves, the grasses, stalks, leaves, flowers and sometimes rhizomes.
The ability of beavers to create winter food reserves is well known. More often, such reserves are equal to 10-25 loose cubic meters, but some families train up to 50 and even up to 100 cubic meters of trunks and branches of trees, stems and rhizomes of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants. At the same time, there are families whose winter stocks of feed are completely absent.
Previously, it was assumed that beavers eat grassy plants mainly in the warm season, and in winter they use only the bark of trees and shrubs stored in autumn and eaten during thaws on the surface. However, recent observations show that this is not the case. Water and coastal grasses are very important in the winter feeding of beavers, and for some families they play a major role. All this helps to understand why some beaver families do not have fodder stocks, and what they eat in winter. In addition, it should be borne in mind that the stock of food laid under the ice ends or deteriorates at the end of January-February, and from that time the animals completely switch to pasture feed.
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Enemies in adult beavers are relatively few - wolves, lynxes, bears, wolverine. Some zoologists refer to them as an otter. The beaver and the otter live in the same conditions and often meet with each other. However, there are very few reported otter attacks on beaver. Therefore, it may be thought that the sharp, strong incisors of adult beavers are sufficiently reliable protection and keep the otter at a respectful distance.
In young beavers, especially in beavers of the current year of birth, the circle of enemies is much wider. In addition to the above - it is a fox, raccoon dog, mink, marten, polecat. From birds for beavers dangerous owl and other large owls, hawk goshawk, black kite, osprey. There are cases of finds of beaver in the stomachs of catfish and large pike.
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Beaver food competitors
Beavers have relatively few competitors. To some extent, seriously, as beavers' food competitors, one can speak only of those animals that live in the coastal strip and eat woody-shrub plants that are beaver forage. These animals include elk, deer, where the latter, dwelling in floodplains, reaches a high density. The rest of the animals — mice, voles, muskrats, and others — are food competitors of beavers only during their mass breeding years.
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Who settles in beaver burrows
There are almost no beavers on the basis of occupied plots or dwellings. In some areas, the same burrow system, along with beavers, use otters. In mid-latitudes, the upper courses of beaver burrows, having air holes, are sometimes visited by foxes, raccoon dogs, much less often by badgers. In old abandoned beaver burrows you can find broods of foxes and raccoon dogs.
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Beavers are susceptible to various diseases - invasive and infectious. More often than others, there are helminthic diseases in river beavers. Without exaggeration, we can say that in Nature a month after birth, all beavers are infected with worms. The 26 species of beaver parasites are fairly well known. The most common helminthic diseases are farm and travassosiosis.
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Pointer at beavers
Starhorz is one of the whitish pigs, the size and shape of which resemble swollen wheat grain. This parasite sometimes accumulates in large numbers in the cecum of the animal and causes the latter to lose weight, anemia, poison the body of the beaver with parasite secretions. The farmhouse is widely distributed among the beavers of the Voronezh, Batyuksky, Pozerskaya and other populations.
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Travassosiosis in beavers
Travassosiosis causes a small, brown hairy nematode, parasitic in the stomach and ducts of the large gastric gland. Beavers infected with this nematode usually suffer from disorder of the activity of the digestive tract, which in the course of a progressive course can cause the death of the animal.
During overexposure, during resettlement works, beavers often die from paratyphoid fever and pasteurellosis. There are also cases of death of beavers from tularemia.
Today we talked about such an interesting animal as a beaver, we learned about its habits and about what it eats, where it lives. We hope that this information will help in your beaver hunt. By the way, how do you prefer to hunt this animal? Share your experiences and stories with us.
The article was prepared on the materials of Y. Dyakov, candidate of biological sciences, taken from free sources.
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Where do beavers live?
Beavers live in Europe (Scandinavian countries), in France (the lower reaches of the Rhone river), in Germany (the Elbe river basin) and in Poland (the Vistula river basin). Also beavers are found in the forest and forest-steppe zones of the European part of Russia, in Belarus, in Ukraine.
In Russia, the beaver lives in the Northern Trans-Urals. Beavers live separately in the upper reaches of the Yenisei River, in the Kuzbass (Kemerovo Region), in the Baikal Region, in the Khabarovsk Territory, in Kamchatka, in the Tomsk Region. In addition, beavers are found in Mongolia and in Northwest China.
Beavers live, with full equipment available, to lead a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Their ear openings and nostrils are closed under water. And special blink membranes close their eyes, which allows them to see well in the water. The oral cavity is designed so that water does not fall into it while the animal is working under water. The steering function in water is performed by the beaver's tail.
Beavers live, preferring to inhabit the shores of calm rivers and lakes, ponds and reservoirs. They avoid fast and wide rivers, as well as reservoirs that freeze through to the bottom in winter. For these rodents, the presence of soft-deciduous trees, the presence of aquatic, grassy, and shrub vegetation in coastal zones and along the banks of the reservoir is important.
Beavers dive well and swim. Thanks to their large light they can stay under water for up to 15 minutes and swim up to 750 meters during this time. Therefore, beavers feel more confident in the water than on land.
How do beavers live?
Beavers live in families (up to 8 individuals) or singly. The family consists of a married couple and young beavers (broods in the last two years). The same site for many generations can be used by the family. Small ponds takes idle beaver or one family. Larger reservoirs contain several families, and the length of each individual family section along the coast ranges from 300 meters to 3 km. Beavers live near water and are not more than 200 meters from the coastline.
The length of the family plot depends on the abundance of feed. In places where vegetation is abundant, areas of these animals can border on each other and even intersect. The borders of their territories beavers mark. The beavers communicate with the help of odorous tags. Beavers communicate with each other with the help of poses, striking the tail in the water and screaming like whistles. In case of danger the beaver loudly claps its tail in the water and dives. Such a clap gives an alarm for all beavers within earshot.
At night and at dusk, beavers live actively. In the summer, they leave their homes at dusk and work until dawn. In the fall, beavers prepare for winter and begin to harvest food. The working day is increased to 10 hours. In winter, beavers live less actively, their labor activity decreases and moves to daylight. Beavers overwinter, almost not showing up on the surface, but they do not hibernate. At temperatures below −20 ° C, the beaver winters surrounded by its family, remaining in its warm dwelling.
Beavers build a new home in late August. Lonely beavers are not engaged in buildings, but family work very hard. What is the name of the beaver's home? In one settlement of beavers there are two types of dwellings. In the first case, the beaver’s house is called a burrow. Beavers live in burrows, they dig them into steep steep banks. For security, the entrance to such a dwelling beaver is always under water. The beaver's burrows are a kind of maze that has 4 entrances. The walls and ceiling of the burrow of the beaver are diligently leveled.
The beaver's house inside the hole is located at a depth of 1 meter and a little more than a meter wide, at a height of 50 cm. The floor is always above the water level. If the water in the river rises, the beaver raises the floor, scraping the ground from the ceiling. The entire construction activity of beavers is dictated by their desire for safety and comfort. Where it is impossible to dig holes, houses are built directly on the water in the shallow part of the reservoir. Such a dwelling of a beaver is called a hut and beavers build these houseboats on the principle of dam construction.
The beaver huts look like a cone-shaped island protruding from the water. The height of such a beaver house reaches 3 meters and its diameter is up to 12 meters, the entrance to the dwelling is under water. The beaver's hut is built from a pile of brushwood, which is held together with silt and earth. The walls of their homes beavers carefully coated with silt and clay. Thus, the beaver's hut turns into a solid fortress, and air flows through the hole in the ceiling.
Inside the beaver's hut there are passages into the water and a platform that is above the water level. When the beavers come to frost, they additionally apply a new layer of clay on the hut with the help of front paws. In winter, beaver huts keep the temperature above zero, the water in the passages is not covered with a crust of ice, and the beavers calmly leave under the ice of the reservoir. In winter, there are steam over habitable beavers. Beavers are real cleaners, they monitor the cleanliness of their homes, never littering them.
In reservoirs where the water level is variable, beavers build dams or dams. And for what beavers build dams? The dam beavers allows them to raise and maintain the water level in the reservoir, to regulate it so that the entrances to the huts are not drained. The dam ensures the safety and security of the beaver's hut. Beavers build dams from branches, brushwood and tree trunks, holding them together with clay, silt and other materials. If there are stones at the bottom, they are also used in construction.
Beavers build dams in places where trees grow closer to the shore. The construction of a beaver dam begins with the fact that beavers dive and vertically stick trunks into the bottom, reinforce the gaps with branches and fill the voids with silt, clay, and stones. If there is a tree that has fallen into a river, then it often serves as a support frame. Beavers gradually cover it from all sides with building materials. Often the branches in beaver dams take root, which gives additional strength to the structure.
The beaver dam usually reaches a length of up to 30 meters, a width of up to 6 meters, and the height is usually 2 meters, but sometimes up to 4 meters. The beaver dam is a sturdy construction, it can easily withstand the weight of a person. On average, the construction of a dam for a beaver family takes about a month. The beavers carefully watch to keep the dam intact and repair it immediately in case of damage.
For the construction of the beaver dam and the harvesting of food, beavers cut trees. They gnaw them at the base, gnaw branches, and the trunk is divided into parts. A tree with a diameter of 7 cm beaver brings down in 5 minutes. A tree 40 cm in diameter beaver fells and processes for the night, so that in the morning there remains only a pointed stump and a pile of shavings.
The trunk of the tree, on which the beaver has already worked, but has not yet tumbled down, acquires a characteristic form in the form of an hourglass. Partially branches of a fallen tree are eaten by beavers on the spot. The rest they demolish or float on the water to the construction site of the dam or their house.
Every year the beaver’s trodden trails are gradually filled with water, forming beaver canals. On them animals fused wood food. The length of such channels can reach hundreds of meters. Beavers always keep the channels clean.
An area that was transformed as a result of beaver activity is called a beaver landscape. Their ability to change the natural landscape, they are second only to man. Beavers are one of the most unique animals, because they are able to learn and improve their skills all their lives.
Бобры моногамны, соединившись однажды, они живут вместе всю жизнь и остаются верными друг другу. Доминирует в семье самка. Бобры становятся способными к размножению в 2 года. Потомство приносят 1 раз в год. Брачный сезон длится с середины января до конца февраля. Продолжительность беременности составляет 3,5 месяца.
В апреле-мае рождается от 2 до 6 бобрят. Beaver cubs are born sighted, well covered with hair, and weigh an average of 0.5 kg. After 2 days the beaver cubs can already swim. Beavers take care of their young.
At the age of 1 month the beaver cubs switch to vegetable food, but the mother continues to eat milk for up to 3 months. Grown-up beavers usually do not leave their parents for another 2 years, after which the young are relocated.
What is useful beaver and what are beavers for?
Beavers are useful because their appearance in rivers has a beneficial effect on the ecological system. Beaver is especially useful in building its dams. They are inhabited by various animals and waterfowl, which bring fish roe on their paws, and fish appear in the pond. Beavers are needed because their dams help purify water, they trap sludge and reduce turbidity.
Beavers are peace-loving animals, but they also have enemies in nature - they are brown bears, wolves and foxes. But the main threat to beavers is man. As a result of hunting, the common beaver was on the verge of extinction by the beginning of the 20th century. Beavers are exterminated for their fur. In addition, they give the beaver stream, which is used in perfumery and medicine.
In order to preserve this valuable beast, effective measures were taken to protect and renew the numbers. By the beginning of the 21st century, the beaver population has recovered. Now the common beaver has the minimum risk status in the International Red Book. Currently, the main threat to it is water pollution and the construction of hydroelectric power plants.
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Beavers are large rodents adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle. The body length of an adult individual reaches 100-130 cm, with a height in the shoulders up to 35.0-35.5 cm, and body weight in the range of 30-32 kg. Indicators of sexual dimorphism are mild, but adult females are somewhat larger than males. The body of a beaver is a squat type, with the presence of shortened five-fingered limbs. More developed and strong are the hind limbs. Between the fingers there are well-developed swimming membranes. Beaver is characterized by the presence of flattened and strong claws on the paws.
The tail of an ordinary beaver is of a hooded type, with a strong flattening from top to bottom, no longer than 30 cm, with a width of no more than 10-13 cm. The hairs on the tail are present exclusively in the base area. A large part of the tail is covered with large horny plates, between which there are sparse and tough, rather short hairs. In the upper part, along the middle tail line, there is a characteristic horny keel.
It is interesting! Beavers have small-sized eyes, wide and short, very slightly protruding ears above the fur.
Under water, the openings of the ears and nostrils are closed, and the eyes themselves are closed by flashing membranes. The molars in an animal are rootless, and the appearance of weakly isolated roots is characteristic only of individual and age individuals. The incisors of the beavers are located behind and isolated from the entire oral cavity with the help of special outgrowths of the lips, thanks to which the mammal is able to actively nibble even under water.
Beavers - owners of a very beautiful and original fur, consisting of coarse guard hair with the presence of a very thick and incredibly silky podushi. Coloring of fur can vary from light chestnut to dark brown, sometimes even black. The tail and limbs - unchanged black. Beavers molt only once a year. Shedding standard starts in the last decade of spring, and lasts almost until the onset of winter.
The anal region of beavers is characterized by the presence of paired glands, wen and the beaver jet itself, emitting a strong and sharp-smelling secret that carries information about the sex and age characteristics of the individual. The smell of such a “beaver stream” will serve as a guideline for other members of the family about the boundaries of the settlement territory. The secret of Wen, which is used in conjunction with such a jet, is responsible for the long-term preservation of the beaver mark created.
How many beavers live
The average lifespan of an ordinary beaver in natural conditions is about fifteen years, and when kept in captivity - a quarter of a century. Not only natural enemies, but also some diseases contribute to the reduction of life expectancy in nature. Despite the fact that common beavers have sufficiently resistant immunity to some of the most common infectious diseases, including tularemia, death of mammals from rodents from pasteurellosis, paratyphoid fever, as well as hemorrhagic septicemia, coccidiosis and tuberculosis has been recorded.
It is interesting! From the flukes, the common beaver shows the presence of a liver fluke, as well as pochorhis and travassosius. It is the last two diseases that have a very negative effect on the growth of the number and general population of beaver.
Among other things, in conditions of too strong spring flood, young beavers die or all existing families are completely broken up, and winter floods can lead to a reduction of the entire livestock by almost 50%.
There live ordinary beavers in burrows or so-called huts, the entrance to which is always under water.. Nora is digging a rodent in a steep and steep bank, is a fairly complex maze, with several entrances. The walls and the ceiling of the hole are leveled and thoroughly tamped. Shed is built in areas where the arrangement of the burrow is simply impossible, - on the gentle and low, marshy shore and on the shallows. The construction does not begin until the end of summer. The finished hut has a cone-shaped appearance and is distinguished by a large height with a diameter of no more than 10-12 m. The walls of the hut are carefully covered with silt with clay, thanks to which the building is an impregnable fortress for most predators.
Common beavers are very clean mammals that never litter their homes with food debris or excrement. On reservoirs that have varying water levels, beaver families prefer to build the famous dam dams, the frame base for which most often are fallen trees in the river, lined with a variety of building materials. The standard length of the finished dam can reach 20-30 m, with a base width of 4-6 m and a height of 2.0-4.8 m.
It is interesting! Record sizes belong to a dam built by beavers on the Jefferson River in Montana, the length of which reached as much as 700 meters.
For construction purposes and for the purpose of harvesting fodder, an ordinary beaver brings down trees, pregibbling them with teeth at the very base. Then the branches are cut off, and the trunk itself is divided into several parts.
An aspen with a diameter of 50-70 mm falls into a beaver in about five minutes, and a tree with a diameter of just under half a meter falls and is cut in one night. In this work, the beavers rise on their hind legs and rest on the tail, and the jaws work like a saw. The beaver incisors are self-sharpening, consisting of fairly hard and durable dentin.
Some of the branches from fallen trees are actively eaten by beavers directly on the spot, and the other is being torn down and hauled or floated along the water towards the dwelling or to the site of the dam construction. Protruded in the process of moving the track is gradually filled with plenty of water and are called "beaver canals", which are used by rodents for fusing wood fodder. An area that has been transformed by the activity of ordinary beavers is called a “beaver landscape”.
Ration of beaver ordinary
Beavers belong to the category of strictly herbivorous mammals of semi-aquatic animals that feed exclusively on tree bark or plant shoots. Particular preference is given to such animals in aspen and willow, poplar and birch, as well as in various herbaceous plants, including water lily and pods, iris and rogoz, and young reeds. The abundance of soft wood is a prerequisite when choosing an ordinary beaver habitat.
Plants that are of secondary importance in the daily diet of an ordinary beaver are represented by hazel, linden, and elm, as well as by bird-cherry. Alder and oak, as a rule, are not used by mammals for rodent food purposes, and are used only in construction and for construction of buildings.
It is interesting! Acorns are also very much eaten by beavers, while the daily amount of food consumed should be about 18-20% of the total weight of the animal.
Due to large teeth and powerful bite, ordinary or river beavers very easily and quickly cope with almost any vegetable solid feed, and food rich in cellulose is digested by means of microflora in the intestinal tract.
As a rule, a mammal eats only a few species of wood, as for the transition to a new type of food, beavers need a period of adaptation that allows intestinal microorganisms to adapt to a new type of diet. With the onset of spring and summer, the amount of grassy fodder base in the beaver’s diet increases significantly.
In autumn, the semi-aquatic rodent proceeds to harvest wood feed for the winter period.. The stocks are stored in water, which allows them to fully retain all their nutritional and taste qualities until February. The average amount of winter food supplies per family is about 65-70 cubic meters.
Reproduction and offspring
European or common beavers reach sexual maturity only in the third year of life, and the rutting process takes place from the end of February to the end of March. Adult beavers leave their winter shelter, swim in a thawed polynya, roam the snowy crust and quite actively mark their territory with a beaver stream. This tool is used not only by males, but also by mature females of the common beaver.
The mating process, as a rule, is carried out directly in the water, and after about 105–107 days of gestation, one to five pups are born to a female in April or May. As practice shows, the number of calves directly depends on the age of the bobrihi. The old female most often gives birth to three or four cubs, and the young individuals in one or two beavers.
It is interesting! In the very first days, beavers feed exclusively on mother's milk, but from the age of three or four weeks they enrich their diet with various vegetable foods.
Breastfeeding stops at the age of one and a half to two months. It is during this period that little beavers develop well not only the incisors, but also the molars, so they are able to follow their parents to the place of fattening. Beavers become independent by the end of the second year, when they are already building a new dwelling for themselves. The number of beavers in a single family is very different, and can vary from one to nine or ten individuals of different ages. However, most often in the standard beaver family includes a pair of adult animals and litter for the last couple of years.
The main enemies of the beaver are wolves and wolverine, foxes and lynx, as well as adult bears and packs of stray dogs. The possibility of the destruction of the youngest or weakest individuals by large pikes, an owl and taimen is also not excluded. Otters, contrary to the erroneous opinion, are not able to bring harm to ordinary beavers, which is confirmed by long-term visual observations. To date, the main enemy for the beavers is still man.
Population and species status
Some time ago, Eurasian or common beavers rather densely inhabited almost the entire territory of Europe and Asia. However, as a result of excessive hunting, the number of such animals has now been significantly reduced.. To date, the total population has been brought to almost complete extinction and is extremely small.
In the nineteenth century, in most of the countries of Asia and Europe, almost no ordinary beavers remained. In the last century, in the wild, there were no more than 1.3 thousand individuals. Thanks to control efforts, as well as reproduction, there has been an increase in the population in Germany and France, in Poland and in the south of Scandinavia. There is a small population in the central part of our country.
Beavers have long been harvested because of the beautiful and very valuable fur, as well as the "beaver stream", which is used in the perfume industry and medicine. Beaver meat is often enough to be eaten, and for Catholics it belongs to the category of lean food.. However, it is now known that the common beaver is a natural carrier of salmonellosis dangerous to humans, therefore the extermination of a mammal for the purpose of producing meat has been significantly reduced.