beaver (Castor canadensis) is the largest rodent
in North America. Adults weigh 40-60 pounds or more.
They are industrious, curious and social.
are nocturnal (active after dark). During fall, the
beaver actively cut trees and shrubs to store food for
the winter. This food is kept under the ice and is important
for the survival of the beaver colony.
Beavers are vegetarians. They eat woody plants during
the fall and winter. In spring, beaver switch to green
and leafy vegetation.
of beaver include cuttings from trees that produce wood
chips. Beavers also shave off tree bark (photo right).
a beaver cuts a tree, it starts by gnawing a notch at
a spot on the tree that is high but still easy to reach.
Then, the beaver goes to the other side of the tree
and gnaws another mark a few inches below the first
mark. These marks are how the beaver controls where
the tree falls. The beaver keeps chewing the bark and
wood away from between the two notches until the tree
large front incisors of beaver grow continually throughout
its life (see incisors on the beaver skull at the right).
These incisors are continuously sharpened as they cut
and girdle trees.
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