Beavers are always talked a little enthusiastically: these amazing animals amaze with hard work, seriousness and personify order and devotion.
Man has made the beast a positive hero of fairy tales and fables about the eternal values of life. It is only worth distinguishing consonant words: a beaver is an animal, and a beaver is the name of its fur.
Features and habitat of beaver
In the order of rodents, this river mammal is one of the largest, reaches 30 kg and more weight. The body is squat and elongated up to 1.5 m long, up to about 30 cm high. Short limbs with five fingers, between which there are membranes. The hind legs are much stronger than the front.
Claws are strong, twisted and flattened. On the second finger, the claw is bifurcated, similar to a comb. This is what the animal uses to comb beautiful and valuable fur. The fur consists of stiff outer hair and dense undercoat, reliable protection against hypothermia, as it gets wet badly in water.
A layer of subcutaneous fat, which retains internal heat, also saves from cold. 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 find a fur coat and a hat from the skin of an animal. Eventually beaver added to the list red book animals.
The tail of the animal resembles an oar 30 cm in size and 11–13 cm wide. The surface is covered with large scales and hard bristles. The shape of the tail and some other features distinguish a Eurasian or common beaver from an American (Canadian) relative.
At the tail are wen and two glands for the production of odorous substances, which are called beaver stream. The secret of wen is to store 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 stream, like a fingerprint in a person. The substance is used in perfumes.
Short ears protruding from the wool are visible on a small muzzle. Despite the size of the auditory organs, the animal’s hearing is excellent. When the nostrils are immersed in water, the animal’s ears close, the eyes are protected by the “third century” and are protected from injuries.
Flashing membrane allows you to see the animal in dense water. The beaver's lips are also specially designed so that it does not choke, water does not enter the oral cavity when it gnaws.
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 animal beavers in deep slow-flowing freshwater bodies of water. These are forest lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, banks of reservoirs. The main condition is rich coastal vegetation of soft rocks, shrubs and grass. If the landscape is not quite suitable, then the beaver works on changing the environment, like a builder.
Once animals were settled throughout Europe and Asia, except for Kamchatka and Sakhalin. But extermination and economic activity led to the extinction of a large part of beavers. Restoration work continues to this day, beavers settle in habitable water bodies.
Beaver character and lifestyle
Beavers are semi-aquatic animals that feel more confident in the water, swim beautifully, dive, and on land beaver It has view awkward animal.
The activity of animals increases at dusk and with the onset of night. In summer they can work for 12 hours. Only in winter, in severe frosts, they do not leave the secluded dwellings. Burrows or the so-called huts - these are places of residence of beaver families.
Mink entrances are hidden by water and lead through complex mazes of coastal territories. Emergency exits ensure animal safety. A residential chamber larger than a meter and about 50 cm high is always located above the water level.
A special canopy protects the place on the river where the hole is located from winter freezing. Prudence of beavers is akin to the professionalism of designers. The construction of the huts is carried out on gentle plots or low banks. These are cone-shaped structures up to 3 m high of brushwood, silt and clay.
Spacious inside, up to 12 m in diameter. At the top there is a hole for air, and at the bottom there are manholes for immersion in water. In winter, warmth is kept inside, there is no ice, beavers can immerse themselves in a reservoir. Steam over the hut on a frosty day is a sign of habitable housing.
To maintain the required water level and preserve the lodges and burrows, the beavers place known dams, or dams, from tree trunks, brushwood and silt. Even heavy stones up to 18 kg are found to strengthen the building.
As a rule, the framework of the dam is a fallen tree, which is overgrown with building materials up to 30 m long, up to 2 m high, and up to 6 m wide. The structure easily withstands the weight of any person.
Building time takes about 2-3 weeks. Then the beavers carefully monitor the safety of the erected object and carry out "repair" as necessary. They work in 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 trunks at the base. With larger trees, up to 40 cm in diameter, copes overnight. Cutting into parts, towing to a dwelling or a dam are carried out in an organized and uninterrupted manner.
What kind of animal beavers in his household, visible by habitat. Not only dwellings, but also the channels through which building materials and feed are fused, do not contain excrement and food debris.
Trails, houses, building plots - everything is interconnected and cleaned. A special landscape is created, which is called beaver. Communication of animals occurs with the help of special odorous marks, emitted sounds, similar to whistles, tail punches.
Water pop - 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 beaver population was done by humans.
Beaver - animal-worker and connoisseur of a quiet family lifestyle. In their free time, they look after the fur coat, lubricating it with secretions from the sebaceous glands, protecting it from getting wet.
Beavers ’diet is based on plant foods: bark and shoots of softwood trees; in summer, herbaceous plants make up a large part.
On a daily basis, the amount of food should average up to 1/5 of the weight of the animal. Strong rodent teeth allow you to cope with various wood feeds. They mainly prefer willow, birch, aspen, poplar, less often linden, bird cherry. They love acorns, plant buds, bark and leaves.
In autumn, beavers harvest wood fodder during the winter. Warehouses are located in places under overhanging banks with special flooding. This will allow winter to find under the ice unfrozen trunks of willow, aspen or birch.
The volume of reserves is huge: up to 70 cubic meters. for one beaver family. Special bacteria help digestion in the processing of cellulose, and beaver cutters grow throughout life.
Reproduction and longevity
Females dominate the beaver family; they are larger in size. Marriage time passes in the winter, from mid-January to February.
Until May, the gestation of pups that are born from 1 to 6 of about 0.5 kg in weight lasts. The brood most often contains 2-4 cubs. Beavers, sighted and hairy, after 2 days already swim under the care of their mother.
Babies are surrounded by care, milk feeding lasts up to 20 days, and then they gradually switch to plant foods. For 2 years, the young live in the parent circle, and after reaching puberty, they create their own colony and a new settlement. In nature, the life of a river beaver lasts 12-17 years, and in captivity it doubles.
Monogamous beaver pairs with offspring of the first and second years of life form family groups in the habitable territory with their own habitat structure. Their resettlement, as a rule, have a positive impact on the ecological state of the environment.
There are times when beaver buildings caused erosion of roads or railroad tracks. But more often fauna of beaver enriched with clean water and inhabited by fish, birds, forest dwellers.