Beavers

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Beaver is primarily a nocturnal and semi-aquatic rodent. They’re known for constructing dams, canals and lodges. They’re the next largest rodents known all over the world. They live in colonies and create dams that are deep in water and protect them from the predators. The populace of the North American beaver has declined rapidly because of excessive hunting. They’re killed for fur and the glands are used as a source of medicine and perfumes. They are known for their natural trait of earning dams in the ponds where they live. They have very sharp and strong front teeth that are used for cutting trees for building their homes as well as for feeding. They are known for their alarm signs. When frightened the beaver dives quickly and slaps water using its broad tail. This noise is audible from large distances both above and below water. This behaviour acts as a warning sign for additional beaver present inside water. Once cautioned by the alarm call the other beavers dive into water and do not reemerge for a while. They walk slowly on land but are powerful swimmers and can remain under water for approximately 15 minutes.

They are herbivorous in custom and prefer to feed on the wood of birch, cherry, walnut, cottonwood, willow and alder trees. They don’t undergo hibernation but are known to store logs in a heap under water and consume the under bark. Some piles also float over water and may be covered with snow in the winter season. The insulation of the snow prevents the surrounding water from freezing in the vicinity of the log and also provides fresh air to the beavers to breathe. They have webbed hind feet and wide, scaly tail. The eye sight is somewhat poorly designed but the senses of hearing, smell and touch is very well developed. Their teeth grow continuously so that they feed on wood regularly. They bear 4 incisors which are covered with a hard layer of orange coloured enamel in front and a soft dentine at the back.

Adults may attain a weight of about 25 kg. Females are larger than males a feature rare among the mammals. They live up to 24 years. Their name is of Proto-Indo-European origin. They are extremely close to the squirrels bearing resemblance with the lower jaw and the skull. The European beavers are somewhat larger with larger, less rounded heads, larger and narrower muzzles. The tails are less oval and briefer shin bones are present which function for efficient bipedal locomotion. They have longer nasal bones. The foramen magnum is round the European beavers but it’s triangular in the North American species. The Rat Poop of the European beaver are larger and thin walled enclosing great internal volume when compared with the North American ones. The fur color is also different in both the species. 66% of all the European beavers have pale brown fur, 20% have reddish fur while 8% have brown coats and the rest 4% have black fur. Among the North American one 50 percent beavers are provided with pale brown fur, 25% with red fur, 20% with brown and 6 percent have black coats.

Both the species aren’t genetically compatible. North American beavers are also called Canadian beavers. Beavers are common hosts of Giardia lamblia that causes giardiasis. The beaver testicles and castoreum, a bitter secretion present in the castor glands of male or female beaver is used commercially for making medicine. Castoreum is also used in perfume preparation. They’re national animals of Canada. They have entered the category of endangered due to habitat destruction and mass killing.

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