The Beaver

May 24, 2011
By rsteph0370 BRONZE, Greenville, South Carolina
rsteph0370 BRONZE, Greenville, South Carolina
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The Beaver is truly a remarkable animal. It is the only animal in the world that has the ability to chew down large trees. It uses the trees it cuts down to build its home. There are two main species of beaver, the European Beaver and the North American Beaver. These two species of beaver are known for building large dams and blocking up water, but is this their niche or habitat?

Beavers primarily live in the water, but often must come on land to collect wood. They live in the water so that they can avoid any animals who are hoping to make them their next meal. Animals such as the wolf, coyote, or bear would all eat a beaver if they were given the opportunity. In order to be able to thrive in the aquatic environment, they have developed many adaptations. The most noticeable adaptation is its large tail. It uses its tail as a rudder when swimming. The beaver also slaps it on the water to warn other beavers of any danger in the area. Another noticeable adaptation is the beaver’s webbed feet. It uses these webbed feet to move through the water quickly. With the webbed feet providing most of the energy for swimming, the beaver is free to use its front paws as hands. Another very helpful adaptation the beaver has is its waterproof coat. The waterproof coat allows the beaver to stay dry and warm when it is submerged in cold water. Probably the least noticeable adaptation of the beaver is its underwater vision. With this underwater vision, the beaver is allowed to feed underwater more efficiently. With these adaptations, the beaver can easily survive in its habitat. Its habitat is a river or stream. It also needs a riparian zone with thick underbrush to provide the wood the beaver needs to create its home.

The niche of a beaver is very different from its habitat. The beaver is a nocturnal animal. It only goes out to collect wood for its dam. The beaver is a herbivorous animal. It feeds on bark and twigs of the trees it cuts down. During the summer, it eats the flowering buds of plants. It can also feed on underwater plants. In the beaver’s ecosystem, it cuts down trees. It then uses those trees to build a dam and lodge. It uses the lodge as its home and builds the dam to increase the size of the pond it lives in. The bigger the pond, the more food the beaver is able to eat. Another part of the beaver’s niche is to create a family and provide safety for that family.

So as you can see, the beaver’s habitat and niche are two different things. The beaver’s habitat is the edge of a river or stream, and its niche is collecting wood and building a dam. Unfortunately, the beaver suffers from habitat loss and poaching. The beaver is usually poached for its valuable fur and its glands which can be used for perfume and medicine. The population of the North American Beaver was once 60 million, but it has declined to only 12 million. If something is not done about this, we may not be able to tell our children about the fascinating creature we know as the beaver.

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