What beavers eat: seasonal preferences
Beavers are inhabitants of small forest rivers and streams, stretches and swamps. 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 through 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 shore.
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 as a basis a suitable bush, an old stump or a large hummock at the water's edge, 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 in the river is maintained, blocking access to the entrance to the nest and thus providing disguise 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 fodder 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, with pleasure 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 autumn 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 the scientists found out, over three hundred different types of plants are food for them. 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 incisedput the tips in soft ground of the river. The hard 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 water plants! Naturally, nature gave them fleshy, very mobile lips, allowing them to nibble 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 burrows 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 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 food for the future, it was already 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 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 carefully 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, this leads to hunger, 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 looking for food. At this time, beavers rarely cut large trees; they mainly look for willow twigs and immediately eat, 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.