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Interesting Facts About Beavers

After watching a movie about beavers a few weeks ago, I became highly interested by their strange behaviors. I came to research a bit about the critters and came along some info that may be interesting to all of you readers out there. Personally, I'd like to see a Meerkat Manor-like show based on beaver's lives. Do you think it would work?

Water is music to beaver ears

Or at least, music they can't stand. The sound of running water is a beaver's main motivator in building a dam. A scientist once performed a study where they placed speakers beside a beaver dam that were continually playing the sound of running water. The beavers built up their dams by the speaker until it effectively was silenced. The noise drives them mad. Source

Those darn dams



We all know beavers love their dams. In fact, by building their dams and changing river flows, they are change the world more than any other creature besides man. They're quite good architects and take water flow into consideration when building, using straight dams on trickling waters and curved dams in raging rapids. They use these dams as protection from predators and as shelter throughout the winter. If a predator destroys part of the dam, it will be fixed overnight.

Also just like men, they won't stop building until the job is done -resulting in some massively huge dams being built along large rivers. The largest beaver dam was over 2,750 feet long. These dams are the only animal-created structures that can be seen from space. Source

It's Ok To Eat Beavers on Friday

No, that's not a naughty sex innuendo. The 17th century Catholic Church actually declared beavers to be a fish according to dietary restrictions, meaning they are ok to eat on both Fridays and throughout Lent. Beaver meat was a common dish by Native Americans and French settlers to America, so the decision was believed to be important to these people's behaviors. The church decisions are based more on an animal's environment than their physical characteristics. Source

European and American Beavers Don't Mix

Because the animals have a different number of chromosomes, they do not cross breed with one another. Russian scientists once tried to breed the two together. In 27 attempted experiments, they only had one semi-success and the baby still came out as a stillborn. Source

They're Our Only Hope and They're Terrible Pests

Beavers have an interesting role in the environment. Their dams trap sediments in the water, turning rushing rivers into peaceful wetlands. When the dams break, the sediment stays and rich meadows are formed. Some scientists claim beavers can help prevent drought and that they are our only chance and maintaining our precious wetlands. Source

On the other hand, beavers are notoriously destructive. They cause $100 million in property damage yearly and their re-working of river currents can cause massive floods on our nation's farms. They have been known to destroy whole forests and one beaver couple almost took out a world-famous cherry tree forest in Washington D.C.. Source

My, What Nice Sex Organs You Have

Beaver sex organs have been used for traditional medicines for centuries. Their testicles and vaginal follicles can actually help with a few conditions, but mostly because the sailicin from the willow trees they eat turns into an aspirin-like salicylic acid with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. These same naughty beaver parts are still used in perfume production, you may have some beaver residue on you right now- particularly if you're wearing any of these brands: Emeraude, Coty Chanel Cuir de Russie, Magie Noire, Lancôme Caractère, Hechter Madame, Carven, Givenchy III or Shalimar. Source

Canada Loves Them...But Almost Killed Them All

Beaver is the Canadian national animal and is depicted on the Canadian five cent piece and their first pictorial stamp issued in 1849. The beavers were highly loved in part due to their fur, which was widely sought after up until the mid-19th century. It was so widely adored that the animal was almost hunted to extinction in Canada. If the fur trade hadn't stopped when it did, the Canadian national animal might be little more than a memory to its residents. Source

im pretty sure that elephants change their environment more than beavers. one theory says that the savannahs in Africa are a result of elephants deforesting the land....
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Beaver fur is still widely used in the making of hats. The hat makers Stetson and Borselino were fur trappers, harvesting pelts on their own and turning the fur into fine felt.
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I think it is pretty stupid for the Pope to say that beavers are fish. I keep hoping that President Obama will close down the Roman Catholic Church in this country because of issues like this, when President Obama campaigned on calls for greater use of science. I know that President Obama can not shut down the whole Vatican thing world-wide but surely he can shut down the Pope's operation in this country.
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Beavers being fish probably contributed to their extinction in the UK (fur being the major factor).

And you missed a good bit about their sex organs; in Medieval Europe it was believed that male beavers would bite off their own testicles and throw them at pursuing hunters to get them to leave him alone!

Nice illumination of this: http://bestiary.ca/chimaera/103
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I think the order to be switched to "Terrible Pests and Our Only Hope." In my mind's eye I see the wonder of nature for decades and centuries chipped away by irate farmers with rifles.
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Interesting piece! I would, however, prefer to see gender-inclusive language in the first part, unless you meant that only men are responsible for changing our environment! :)
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"...the only animal-created structures that can be seen from space" - Anyone heard of a little something starting with 'G' and ending in 'reat Barrier Reef'?
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i once went snowshoeing over a frozen beaver dam. it's really neat- they help support a huge wetland ecosystem. even though it was the dead of winter in the north there were tons of little mouse tracks, fisher (the animal) tracks- tracks from weasels, ravens, etc. all over the place - the dam kept a pond of water full of fish and plants for those animals to live off of. really neat stuff.
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well, can the great barrier reef be seen from space? I'd think a better example of "animal" created structures that can be seen from space would be the Great Wall of China. Oh, but then again, that's a myth.
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Beavers have already been reintroduced to parts of Scotland and studies into repopulating parts of England are underway.
Needless to say, some landowners are very keen, others see it as the end of the world as we know it.
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The Pope's decision to classify beavers (and capybaras) as fish had less to do with their environment and everything to do with the Church's goal to collect souls. People weren't exactly lining up to convert. Asking them to give up their traditional foods wouldn't really lure them in.
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An fascinating concept this. I'm 1 of those men and women whom tend to wait for things to mature before taking action but in this case I'm mindful that inaction leads to only failures so I will heed your comments and start to do some thing about it.
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