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Wednesday, 14 February 2018 19:53

Beavers

Written by Human learning from beavers

I think animals and nature can always teach us something if we dare to learn from them. Let’s discover what beavers can teach us.

The beaver is the national animal of Canada and is depicted on the Canadian nickel. Beavers are family oriented, monogamous, and pair for life. Both parents participate in raising the kits and toilet train them to use an underwater door in their lodges. The one-year-olds help keep the bedding washed in the nursery by cleaning it out regularly. (That’s impressive!)  

And when a beaver hears running water, it thinks the dam has broken so it gets to work to repair it immediately. No need for uxorial prompting to get the repairs done!

If a parent has been separated from the family for any reason, the older kits take over his or her role. Once the kits leave home, they don’t venture too far away from their family, and like human animals, they are able to recognize a family member among other beavers with one difference: beavers identify family by the makeup of their anal gland secretions.

“The beaver family provides protection for all the residents of the pond,” digging out escape routes to avert predators along with secret entrances and exits to their lodges (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c). When a beaver senses a wolf or bear nearby, it will “slap” its tail to alert the others.

North America’s landscape is built primarily by beavers. They fell hundreds of trees to build a dam (“a barrier that impounds water or underground streams”) and have been labeled “extraordinary engineers” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c). They know precisely where to place every twig, rock, and branch so that their lodges are secure. They dredge mud from the bottom of the pond to seal their homes, and the entire family pitches in (pun intended).

The younger beavers are apprentices who watch and learn from their fathers, who show them how to repair any damage to their lodge. At the end of summer, beavers speedily gather food and store it before winter arrives and the pond freezes over. Beaver dams provide protection and an array of food for other wildlife. The trees that beavers cut down are homes for insects that become a buffet for woodpeckers.  Frogs from the pond become a meal for raccoons, and birds that migrate for the winter use the beaver ponds for nesting sites and rest stops. Geese find it warm to nest on top of the beaver lodges, while deer and elk forage on the lush greenery. These dams provide other animals with nutrient rich delights.

Water is a basic need for human animals and all other animals, and billions of tons of water are filtered through beaver damns! In 2002 the only places in nature without drought were where beavers lived; hence the conclusion that with beavers, ponds will be full of water but without beavers, they won’t.

Beavers definitely have the engineering and sound construction of lodges figured out perfectly. In addition, their landscaping abilities prove beneficial to many. “Beavers turn deserts into gardens” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c).

Beavers mate for life! They don’t run out on each other in tough times. If one of the parents dies, there is no contention between siblings as to who should remain at home as there is with human animals; the kits all remain to help out the surviving parent.

Beavers look out for each other, warn each other in times of danger, and are very prepared animals. No wonder the saying goes, “Busy as a beaver,” but busy being useful and productive, which blesses many.

See more about beavers at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c.

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