NORTH AMERICAN BEAVER
Beavers live around water. They eat leaves and barks of tree as well as water plants. Their habitat requirements include broad-leaved trees that grow by the waterline, which is also their main source of food. Beavers cut down large trees, and use them to build dams. Dams make the surface of their home pond rise. Their nests are made of branches and tree trunks. Their nests are sturdily built, with the nest opening located underwater to prevent predators from invading the nest. Beavers are night-active animals that live in family colonies. Usually, a colony consists of parents and their offspring from a two-year period. There are two different beaver species in Finland. American beavers breed mainly in the central and eastern parts of Finland, but are also found in Päijät-Häme regions and in Lapland.
Beavers were hunted to extinction in the end of the 1800’s in Finland. In the 1930’s beavers were introduced back to Finland from both Norway (the European beaver), and from Northern America (the American beaver). The beaver is a game animal. For the hunting of the rare European beavers, one needs a special permit from the appropriate game keeping district in Finland.
ADAPTING TO WINTER
Beavers store branches and tree trunks in their home pond in the autumn in order to fetch nutritional addition while staying in the nest over winter. As the opening of the nest is located underwater, the beaver does not need to bother wading in the snow with its short feet, exposed to predators while searching for nutrition.
NORTH AMERICAN BEAVER
Class: Mammalia – Mammals
Order: Rodentia – Rodents
Family: Castoridae – Beavers
Size: Weight: 12-33kg, length 65-105cm + length of tail 22-38cm, males and females the same size, sometimes females may be larger than males.
Breeding: Monogamous. Heat: January-February, gestation period 3,5 months, offspring 3-4 at a time. Independent in 2 years, sexual maturity in 1,5 years.
Lifespan: 30 years
Did you know…
Did you know that the American beaver transforms its habitat greatly with its constructions? The dams it builds causes the water to rise on the shore, this furthermore causing the suffocation of the roots of the trees, and especially the dying of the spruce. The coastland forest turns into a water eco-system. When the beaver leaves the area, the water-level descends, and the coastland eco-system develops into a forest again.