What Do Beavers Eat?

What do beavers eat?


What Do Beavers Eat?... Beavers are rodents belonging to the family Castoridae of genus Castor. Beavers love eating leaves, fruits, buds, roots, water plants, etc. when food is scarce during the winter, they depend upon the bark of trees especially from aspens.

They are the second largest rodents all around the World and the largest in North America.

Weighing approximately 40 to 60 pounds, a beaver typically ranges to be about a foot in height and about four feet in length.




They can sometimes be seen near water sources or near the dams that they have created.

They are generally brown in color with bright yellow front teeth.

One of their distinct features being their flat and a scaled tail.

They use this tail to propel or pedal themselves when they are in the water.

As most of their lives revolve around the water bodies, the tail proves to be quite helpful to them.

They use the tail for pedaling but also for showing their threat behavior.

When a feels threatened, it makes frequent dives in the water and uses the tail to slap the water in order to give warning to the threat.

Beavers are known for their ability to construct their well-maintained homes called the lodges.

Being referred to as the engineers of the wild is not much exaggerated when their construction is taken into consideration.

They use branches, logs of trees, roots, and mud.

These houses, termed as the lodges are fortified by the beavers.

They offer protection from almost every predator to the beavers.

Beavers being sociable creatures, generally do not live alone.

In a beaver house (lodge), a male beaver, a female and children might be present.

They are nocturnal by design and do most of their chores during the night.

During the time of dusk and dawn, they tend to be the most active.

What do beavers eat?... In our previous article, we talked about the diet of foxes which is omnivorous in nature but there are some creatures which depend upon only one kind of diet like the beavers.

Beavers are herbivores. It should not come as a surprise as most of the rodents are herbivores.

Considering the places where they live, they do not get many choices when it comes to food.

Being herbivorous, beavers can eat the bark off the trees.

Also, read: What do giraffes eat?
                    What do foxes eat?

Now, someone might argue that mammals do not have the ability to break down the cellulose present in the wood.

They are perfectly right. But the Beavers have a bacteria present in their stomach which does this for them.

After the bacteria is done digesting the cellulose from the wood, the beavers digest the bacteria taking the nutrition.

They also nibble on the maple and the willow trees. They have especially hard and sharp front teeth they use in cutting the trees.

After they bring a tree down, their leaves act as wonderful nutritional source to the beavers and when they are done eating the leaves and bark off the tree, the log is used as a building material for their homes.

They have very good front teeth but they cannot be used for chewing.

For that, they have back teeth which are not yellow as their front ones.

Other sources of food for them are aquatic plants like water lilies, watergrass, weeds, etc.




Why do beavers build dams


It has been well established that beavers very much so dependent upon the water bodies.

When a beaver has made a home in a pond or a lake, they have still water which does not possess a problem in their homes.

But when they do not have such luxuries, they make a home in the running water bodies but fast flowing water may prove to be pretty bad for their lodges.

They make their home in the water bodies to stay safe from many of their dangerous predators.

If these homes are somehow destroyed, they leave themselves to these dangers until new lodges are made.

In order to prevent this from happening, they make dams.

Due to these dams, the speed of flow of water is reduced which minimizes the threat to their homes in case of a flood.

The benefits of the beaver’s dam do not stop there.

It provides life to many aquatic plants and fishes.

It has been seen that the number of Salmon and Trout is more in these dams.

They like to live in these places as they can move to the deeper areas and protect themselves from the birds which usually hunt them in shallow water.

In addition, they provide clean water which is preferred by most of the aquatic life.

As we all know that the river banks are very good for agricultural use.

Because of this, there are many fields and agricultural sites placed near them.

This causes much of the chemicals used in cultivating crops like the pesticides and fertilizers get swept away in the river.

This results in causing many problems for much of the aquatic life present in that river.

The beaver dams have bacteria living in the bottom which utilize these chemicals and help to keep the water clean.

They also help in controlling floods. The water still flows.

The dams are just big reservoirs which keep in control the flow of water.

So, when the conditions of flood arise, the water level of the dam rises and then the water slowly releases itself minimizing the damage that the flood could have caused.

The biggest beaver currently is the Wood Buffalo National Park.

This park is situated in Alberta, Canada.

The beaver dam there is 2,790 feet long.

It has been found out that there were originally two dams in that area.

After sometime, the beavers merged the two dams hence creating the world’s largest beaver dam.

In order to show contrast at how big the dam is, just think about the fact that the dam can be seen through satellite imagery.



Where do beavers live


Beavers are limited to certain parts of the world.

Taking into consideration the favourable conditions required for a beaver to survive, there are not many places where they can make their home.

Because of this, out of the seven continents, they are limited to only three continents of the world, them being America, Europe, and Asia.

Even in these places, their population in Asia is not very large.

They are concentrated in Europe and North America.

In North America, there are now approximately six to twelve million beavers left.

Compared to their massive numbers of sixty million to four hundred million, their population now has drastically decreased.

The North American beaver is found in almost every part of North America with the exception of California and other parts where there is a shortage of water like the Nevada deserts.

They make their homes in water so it is quite understandable that they are not found in these areas.

The Eustasian beaver was once found in abundant quantities in Europe and some parts of Asia.

Due to excessive hunting of these beavers because of said medicinal properties and perfumes made from their organs.

Their numbers were reduced to only 1200 by the 1900s.

Now the species have been reintroduced to many parts of Europe and due to many conservative efforts, the population of the beavers has increased.

The hunting was once so excessive that the beavers became extinct in England during the sixteenth century.

Now as they are reintroduced, the population is blooming.


Beaver Facts



  • The Beavers front teeth are orange in color, no don't guess because of improper hygiene. But because they are coated with iron and they never stop growing, there is one more interesting fact hidden inside their mouth, their lips are behind their teeth, which helps in carrying branches.



  • Beavers are the second largest rodents in the world, the first largest is a capybara.



  • Beaver has weak eyesight inland but they can view clearly in water due to their transparent eyelids.



  • North American Beavers can't breed with Egyptian Beavers. In North America, there was a beaver (now extinct ) whose weight was over 8 feet tall and 130-220 pounds.



  • Many few people know that Beaver is the national animal of Canada and there to even dishes in Canada that named as 'beaver tails' as they are mainly pastries shaped as long and given shape as of beaver tail.



  • Beavertail is made of leather. Beaver change their environment with the help of that tail, and the thing they secrete smells like vanilla, and too even is used in vanilla flavourings and is FDA approved natural flavouring. Beaver uses his 15 inches long tail both in water and land. In water for swimming and land to sit upright. These animals even use their tail to send a signal to other Beavers if he finds any danger nearby him.



Scientific Classification of Beaver  -
 Superclass: Tetrapoda 
           Class: Mammalia 
Subclass: Theria  
       Order: Rodentia
           Suborder: Castorimorpha
    Kingdom: Animalia  
Subkingdom:   Bilateria  
    Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia
     Phylum: Chordata
 Subphylum: Vertebrata
       Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
          Family:  Castoridae
    Subfamily: Castorinae
     Genu: Castor


  • The home of this lovely rodent is termed as the lodge, many lodges have an underwater way so that they can get easy swimming to assess when required, lodges are built near water sources like lakes, near islands or near ponds just near water by the help of grasses, sticks, and mud. The lodges are mainly dom shaped.


  • Unlike other mammals, they have the ability to digest cellulose, so they not only make lodges from wood, they too even eat it, they too even eat leaves, barks, poplar trees, and aquatic plants.



  • They can stay underwater for about 15 minutes at a time, and their kits can swim the whole day in water after they take birth.



  • They do not hibernate, they follow their same way of living which is eating and sheltering whole year long.



  • Instead of being the second largest rodent they too are the largest living rodent ( average lifespan of 24 years ).

Rhythm Dhami

A deep-rooted person who has made an investigation of regular history since childhood or so - longer than I can recollect. An interest in wildlife has developed into wonder with all of nature, and an unquenchable interest to take in more..

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