A beaver is a large, semi-aquatic rodent that lives in North America and in some parts of Europe and Asia. They have large flat paddle like tails and thick fur coats. They have webbed feet for swimming and sharp teeth that can fell large trees overnight. Beavers can stay under water for 15 minutes at a time and are good swimmers. They are much less agile on land and spend much of their time in the water. Beavers are herbivores and eat the wood of various types of trees. They also eat pondweed and water lilies. Beavers are most commonly known for their ability to build large dams across rivers, streams and lakes. So, why do beaver build dams? Read this article to find out.
Why do beavers build dams?
It is amazing to think about the ingenuity that is behind a beaver dam. The primary reason that beavers build dams is to create a safe place where they can build their homes. These homes called lodges are built in deep, still pools of water and have underwater entryways. To ensure that their lodge stays safe beavers build dams. A dam in a river or stream provides a still, deep, clear pool of water. The pool is also likely to be clear of predators and makes it much easier for a beaver to detect a predator. Most of the beaver’s predators do not swim so a home in the middle of a deep pool of water is a perfect place to keep safe. Beavers also use dams to flood an area so that the water is closer to their current food source. This ensures that if they are threatened while eating they have a quick escape route back into the water.
Beaver dams provide easy access to food during the winter months. Beavers stockpile extra wood in the form or sticks and branches along the side of their dams. During the winter months, the snow covers the top of the dam preventing the water around it from freezing. This allows the beavers to access the food sources through the winter months without leaving their lodges.
There is also another theory that suggests that the reason beavers build dams is because they do not like the sound of rushing water. To silence this sound the beavers build a dam across the narrowest and shallow area of a river or stream. It is likely that they do this as a protection mechanism. With the sound silenced they are able to hear any approaching predators and dive below the water for protection.