About beavers always speak a little enthusiastically: these amazing animals amaze with diligence, seriousness and personify order and devotion.
The man made the animal a positive hero of fairy tales and fables about the eternal values of life. It is only worth distinguishing consonant words: the beaver is an animal, and the beaver is the name of its fur.
Beaver features and habitat
In a rodent unit, this river mammal is one of the largest, reaching 30 kg or more. The body is squat and stretched to 1.5 m in length, up to about 30 cm in height. Short limbs with five fingers, between which membranes are located. The hind legs are much stronger than the front.
The claws are strong, twisted and flattened. On the second finger, the claw is split, similar to a comb. This is what the animal uses for combing beautiful and valuable fur. The fur consists of hard guard hairs and a dense undercoat, reliable protection against hypothermia, as it gets wet in the water badly.
Rescues from the cold and the layer of subcutaneous fat, which retains the internal heat. The color range of wool is from chestnut to dark brown, almost black, like paws and tail.
Because of the valuable and beautiful fur, the animal was almost destroyed as a species: there were a lot of people who wanted to get a fur coat and a hat made from animal skins. As a result, the beaver added to the list of animals of the Red Book .
The tail of the animal resembles a paddle with a size of 30 cm and a width of up to 11–13 cm. The surface is covered with large scales and stiff bristles. The shape of the tail and some other signs distinguish the Eurasian, or ordinary beaver, from the American (Canadian) relative.
The tail contains wen and two glands for the development of an odorous substance, which is called the beaver stream. The secret of the wen is to save information about the individual (age, gender), and the smell indicates the boundaries of the occupied territory. An interesting fact is the uniqueness of the beaver jet, like fingerprints in humans. The substance used in perfumery.
On a small muzzle short ears protruding from the wool are visible. Despite the size of the auditory organs, the ear of the animal is excellent. When immersed in the water nostrils, the ears of the animal are closed, the eyes are protected by the «third century» and protected from injury.
The flashing membrane allows you to see the animal in dense water. Beaver’s lips are also specially designed so that it does not choke, the water does not fall into the oral cavity when it nibbles.
Large volumes of lungs allow the animal to swim, without appearing on the water surface, up to 700 m, spending about 15 minutes. For semi-aquatic animals, these are record numbers.
Live beavers animals in deep freshwater with a slow current. These are forest lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, banks of reservoirs. The main condition is a rich coastal vegetation of soft species, shrubs and herbage. If the landscape is not entirely suitable, then the beaver works on changing the environment, like a builder.
Once animals were settled throughout Europe and Asia, except Kamchatka and Sakhalin. But the extermination and economic activity led to the extinction of a large part of the beavers. Work on the restoration lasts until today, beavers settled in habitable water bodies.
The nature and lifestyle of the beaver
Beavers are semi-aquatic animals that feel more comfortable in the water, swim beautifully, dive, and on land the beaver has the appearance of an awkward animal .
The activity of animals increases by dusk and with the onset of night. In the summer can work for 12 hours. Only in winter, in hard frost, they do not go out from secluded homes. Nora or so-called huts are the places of residence of beaver families.
The entrances to the mink are hidden by water and lead through the complex labyrinths of coastal areas. Emergency exits provide animal safety. A living chamber of more than a meter in size and about 50 cm in height is always located above the water level.
A special canopy protects the place on the river, where the hole is located, from winter freezing. The prudence of beavers is akin to the professionalism of designers. The construction of huts is conducted on gentle plots or low banks. These are cone-shaped structures up to 3 m tall, made of brushwood, silt and clay.
Inside it is spacious, with a diameter of up to 12 m. At the top there is a hole for air, and at the bottom of the manhole for immersion in water. In winter, it keeps warm inside, there is no ice, beavers can dive into the pond. Steam over the hut on a frosty day — a sign of habitability of housing.
To maintain the desired level of water and preserve huts and holes, beavers set up known dams, or dams from tree trunks, brushwood and silt. Even heavy stones up to 18 kg are found to strengthen the building.
The dam’s frame is usually fallen tree, which acquires building materials up to 30 m in length, up to 2 m in height, and up to 6 m in width. The structure easily supports the weight of any person.
Time to build takes about 2-3 weeks. Then the beavers carefully monitor the safety of the erected object and carry out «repairs» as needed. They work as families, distributing responsibilities, as if as a result of accurate and error-free planning.
Rodents easily cope in 5 minutes with trees up to 7-8 cm in diameter, gnawing through the trunks at the base. With trees larger, up to 40 cm in diameter, copes during the night. Butchering, towing to a dwelling or dam is carried out in an orderly and smooth manner.
What animals are beavers in their farm, can be seen in the habitat zone. Not only the dwellings, but also the channels through which building materials and fodder are fused do not contain excrement and food residue.
Paths, houses, building plots — everything is interconnected and cleaned. It creates a special landscape, which is called beaver. The intercourse of animals takes place with the help of special odorous marks made by sounds like whistling, beats by the tail.
Cotton on the water — an alarm and a command to hide under water. The main enemies in nature are wolves , foxes , brown bears . But a huge damage to the population of beavers caused man.
A beaver is an animal worker and a connoisseur of a quiet family lifestyle. In their free time, they take care of the fur coat, lubricating it with secretions from the sebaceous glands, protecting it from getting wet.
The food of the beavers is based on plant food: the bark and shoots of softwood trees, in the summer period grassy plants constitute a significant part.
On the day, the volume of food should average about 1/5 of the weight of the animal. Strong rodent teeth can cope with a variety of woody fodder. Mostly prefer willow, birch, aspen, poplar, less often linden, bird cherry. They love acorns, plant buds, bark and leaves.
In the fall, beavers harvest wood food over the winter. Warehouses are located in places under the overhanging banks with a special attachment of stocks. This will allow in the winter under the ice to find frozen stumps of willow, aspen or birch.
Stocks are huge: up to 70 cubic meters. for one beaver family. Special bacteria help digestion in the processing of cellulose, and beaver incisors grow throughout life.
Reproduction and longevity
Females dominate the beaver family, they are larger in size. Marriage time passes in winter, from mid-January to February.
Until May, the carrying of pups, which are born from 1 to 6 approximately 0.5 kg in weight, lasts. Brood often contains 2-4 cubs. Beavers, sighted and hairy, after 2 days already swim under the care of the mother.
Toddlers are surrounded by care, milk feeding lasts for up to 20 days, and then they gradually switch to plant food. For 2 years, the youngsters live in the parent circle, and after reaching puberty, an own colony and a new settlement are created. In nature, the life of the river beaver lasts 12-17 years, and in captivity, it is doubled.
Monogamous beaver pairs with the offspring of the first and second years of life form family groups in the inhabited territory with their own habitat structure. Their resettlement, as a rule, have a positive impact on the ecological state of the environment.
There are cases when buildings of beavers caused erosion of roads or railroad tracks. But more often the animal world of a beaver is enriched with clean water and is inhabited by fish, birds, forest dwellers.