What do Beavers Eat?

A beaver is a large rodent or gnawing animal. Like are other rodents, the beaver has four chisel-shaped front teeth called “insicors”. it is with these teeth that it cuts trees and bushes for food and for building dams.

Sapling, and the roots of water plants. Why do beavers build dams? The beaver lives in the water and it remains active all winter. Therefore, it needs a pool of water deep enough not to freeze quite to the bottom during the winter.

So it builds a dam to raise the water level of the pond or stream in which it lives! To build a dam, beavers place willow, alder, or other brush on the bottom of the stream. This is held in place with mud and stones.

As the dam grows in height, sticks and branches may be placed in any position. Often the twigs take root and wind together and help to make the dam strong.

To cut a tree, the beaver gnaws to notches, one above the other. It pries out the wood between the notches with its teeth. Only one or two bites are needed to cut a stick 2 centimeters thick. Trees about 25 centimeters thick are used.

A tree this size may be cut in one night. Generally trees with soft wood are used, such as the poplar, cottonwood, alder, willow or birch. Since beavers eat only the inner bark of trees and bushes, they may use the peeled sticks and logs to strengthen the dam.

A dam is usually not more than two meters high, but it may be three hundred kilometers long! The home of  the beaver is called a “lodge”. it may be a stick-covered shelter in the stream bank or a house of sticks and logs built in a shallow part of the pond.

The floor of the room is just above the water line and is covered with weeds or shredded wood. The entrances are all under water. In late summer and autumn, the beaver collects food for the winter.

So brush, branches, and logs are cut and stored under water near the lodge. These food supplies are sometimes over 1 meter high and contain hundreds of branches and saplings.   

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