What does a beaver eat?
We all know that beavers are rodents and rodents are animals that have teeth with one root and continuously grow.
However, many people do not understand what kinds of foods they eat.
Beavers’ diet depends upon the time of year and where they live.
Beavers can survive well in various climates across North America, but they require water to live.
What a Beaver Eats
They can eat plants and other animals that live in or near the water.
The two main foods beavers prefer are roots, stems, seeds, etc. of plants (especially trees) and inner bark (cambium) of trees—including birch, aspen, sugar maple, willow, cottonwood, and yellow poplar.
Beavers eat roots or stems of aquatic plants at any time of the year, especially in winter when other foods are scarce.
They store the chewed plant material in their ponds for later consumption—this is known as “caching”.
Beavers’ diets change with the seasons to take advantage of available food sources.
Although bark is available all year, beavers prefer the inner layer of freshly cut trees (the “cambium”).
Beavers also eat leaves, buds, and twigs.
However, during the winter months, only about three inches of water are needed for a beaver to survive on land.
How Does a Beaver Eat?
Beavers have small front teeth that they use for cutting through plants.
Their back teeth are orange and they continue to grow throughout their lives, so the beaver must gnaw (chew on) hard materials to keep them worn down.
Because of this, beavers prefer wood that is softest—such as willow, cottonwood, red alder, birch, apple tree branches, or young aspen.
Beavers also store food for winter in their ponds, especially tree branches they have cut down with their sharp teeth.
They cover the branches with mud and vegetation to protect them from insects and rotting until spring when they eat the bark off of trees before it decays.
Beavers can live up to 20 years old, so they have to keep caching food in their ponds for years.
Beavers are herbivores that eat plants, especially trees.
They also consume bark, leaves, twigs, roots, stems, etc., when available.
Beavers need to gnaw on wood throughout their adult lives in order to wear down their sharp teeth!
For this reason, they prefer the softer, younger trees when they can find them.
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