LIFESTYLE AND ECOLOGY

 

Beavers eat the bark from Riparian trees, especially Willow, Aspen, and Cottonwood trees. After eating the bark, they take the section of branches and build a dam or an overwintering lodge in a river or stream.

When water of a stream or pond is shallow and the beaver can't swim, it builds the dam to block the water and increase the depth. The shallow, muddy pond edges, as well as the dam itself allows for ideal conditions for willows and cottonwood trees to grow and provide shade for trout. These dams also stops sediment, which slows the rate of erosion and retains important minerals such as nitrogen and phosphorous of the soil in the surrounding area. Beavers help change riparian forests into

open, sunny meadows, which allow for animals such as mule deer to graze. The stump sprouts from the various trees such as aspen or cottonwood provide reachable winter browse for moose and elk.

 

The bark that beavers eat is formed into fat in their bodies and is stored in their tails for survival in the wintertime. In City Creek there is snowfall and cold winters, so the beavers must make adjustments in order to survive. The deep pond behind the dam allows room for the beaver to swim and retrieve stored branches when the pond surface is frozen. Its lodge of sticks and mud help insulate the beaver family during the winter. Some beavers

create a hole in the stream bank to burrow in during the winter.

The beaver must also protect itself from predation by other animals. These include Coyotes and Cougars which all inhabit the City Creek area. The swimming behavior and lodges protect the beaver family from other predators. The most important ecological role of the beavers is in the creation of ponds and local disturbance which help to allow the establishment of cottonwoods and willows. Their ponds create habitat and food for other creatures such as trout, moose, and deer.

Beaver Home Page

Description

History

Summary

References

Return to Home Page