What Do Beavers Eat? Beavers are some of the largest animals classified in the order Rodentia. These animals are notable for their thick fur, webbed feet, and their tails can be distinguished by the scales that line it.
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What Do Beavers Eat?
|Type of Beaver||Diet|
|North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)||Aquatic plants, woody stems, leaves, willow, aspen trees, birch, alder, poplar, and maple.|
|Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber)||Willow, birch and aspen trees, twigs, shoots, leaves, aquatic plants, roots, and buds.|
Types of Beavers
Two extant beaver species have been described, and this article will focus on them.
The North American Beaver
The North American beaver is the largest rodent found in America. The North American beavers can grow to a height of 600-900 cm, and they weigh anything between 16-30 kg.
- The North American beaver’s furry coat assumes a yellow-brownish to black hue. They also have long dark-orange incisors that grow throughout their lifetime.
- This animal can be identified because of its scaly long black flat tail.
- The tail comes in handy to provide balance for the animal, helps it swim, and is also essential for sounding an alarm in the event of danger.
The North American beaver is herbivorous. Its diet mainly consists of aquatic plants, woody stems, and leaves. This beaver’s favorite delicacies include willow, aspen trees, birch, alder, poplar, and maple.
Beavers have the unique ability to digest cellulose, something other mammals cannot do. These animals have microorganisms in their cecum that allow them to digest cellulose.
The North American beavers are herbivores; hence, there is no information about these animals hunting.
The Eurasian beaver is also referred to as the European beaver. This species was previously widespread in Great Britain and throughout Europe, but they were hunted for their fur and castoreum.
- The Eurasian beavers can grow to lengths of 73-135 cm and weigh anything between 13-35 kg.
- The Eurasian beavers have two fur layers. The undercoat is gray, while the outer layer has long red-brown hairs.
The Eurasian beavers are herbivorous. Their diet over the winter is mainly composed of woody plants, with their preference being willow, birch trees, and aspen.
During summer, these beavers tend to prefer a diet consisting of twigs, shoots, leaves, aquatic plants, roots, and buds. Beavers are living next to agricultural land feed on crops.
There is no information about the Eurasian beavers hunting, considering that they are herbivorous.
When Do Beavers Eat?
Beavers display nocturnal tendencies, which means they are likely to be found foraging at night. It is also worth noting that these busybodies spend a considerable portion of their day eating and building different structures, including dams.
How Often Do Beavers Eat?
How often beavers eat depends on their size, season, and activity level.
- Beavers frequently dine on twigs and foliage for them to realize their daily energy need.
- During summer , beavers have been noted to consume anything between 1.5- 2 kg of food.
- During winter, their food consumption drops to about 0.9 kg a day.
- In the harsh winter periods, beavers consume their stashed food.
What Eats Beavers?
The beavers’ burrows and lodges make them inaccessible to predators.
- Further, adult beavers have mastered a way of scaring predators. They slap the water with their flat tails, an action that confuses potential predators.
- Even with their exceptional ability to ward off prey, the younger members of this species are vulnerable to predators that consider them a perfect delicacy.
Examples of predators that hunt beavers include foxes, coyotes, the great horned owls, bobcats, and otters. Brown bears, lynx, wolverines, black bears, and humans hunt young beavers.
Where Do Beavers Fit in the Animal Food Chain?
- By providing their predators with nutrients, beavers help promote their growth and ability to thrive and propagate.
- It is also worth noting that by building ponds, beavers create entire food chains.
- The dams created by these animals support the growth of saplings, bushes, grasses, and sedges, all of which provide cover and food to other animals.
Given the above, it is apparent that beavers play an essential role in the animal food chain. Without these organisms, the animal food chain would be compromised as a result of being thrown out of balance.
- “American Beaver | National Wildlife Federation”. Accessed July 03, 2020. Link.
- “Beaver | Smithsonian’s National Zoo”. Accessed July 03, 2020. Link.
- “Eurasian beaver – People’s Trust for Endangered Species”. Accessed July 03, 2020. Link.
- “ADW: Castor fiber: INFORMATION”. Accessed July 03, 2020. Link.
- “Facts About Beavers | Live Science”. Accessed July 03, 2020. Link.
- “Emsland Beavers – Biology – Diet”. Accessed July 03, 2020. Link.