What is a beavers food chain

What is a beavers food chain

The beaver genus Castor is a large, primarily nocturnalsemiaquatic rodent. They are the second-largest rodent in the world after the capybara. Their colonies create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect against predators, and to float food and building material. The North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of was 6—12 million. This population decline is the result of extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume, and because the beavers' harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses.

Beavers, along with pocket gophers and kangaroo ratsare castorimorph rodents, a suborder of rodents mostly restricted to North America. Although just two closely related species exist today, beavers have a long fossil history in the Northern Hemisphere beginning in the Eoceneand many species of giant beaver existed until quite recently, such as Trogontherium in Europe, and Castoroides in North America.

Beavers are known for their natural trait of building dams on rivers and streams, and building their homes known as "lodges" in the resulting pond. Beavers also build canals to float building materials that are difficult to haul over land. In the absence of existing ponds, beavers must construct dams before building their lodges. First they place vertical poles, then fill between the poles with a crisscross of horizontally placed branches.

They fill in the gaps between the branches with a combination of weeds and mud until the dam impounds sufficient water to surround the lodge. They are known for their alarm signal: when startled or frightened, a swimming beaver will rapidly dive while forcefully slapping the water with its broad tail, audible over great distances above and below water. This serves as a warning to beavers in the area.

Once a beaver has sounded the alarm, nearby beavers will dive and may not reemerge for some time. Beavers are slow on land, but are good swimmers, and can stay under water for as long as 15 minutes. Beavers do not hibernate, but store sticks and logs in a pile in their ponds, eating the underbark.

Some of the pile is generally above water and accumulates snow in the winter. This insulation of snow often keeps the water from freezing in and around the food pile, providing a location where beavers can breathe when outside their lodge. Beavers have webbed hind-feetand a broad, scaly tail. They have poor eyesight, but keen senses of hearing, smell, and touch.Most people only become aware of beavers when they are a nuisance, but did you know that biologists classify beavers as a Keystone species?

Beaver ponds create wetlands which are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world 1. They increase plant, bird 2 and wildlife variety 3improve water quality 4and raise salmon and trout populations 5.

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This one species supports thousands of species. How is this possible? By opening the tree canopy, sunlight reaches the water and triggers an explosion of biological activity. Algae and aquatic plants grow in the sun drenched, nutrient rich water.

This organic material supports microscopic organisms, which are eaten by a variety of invertebrates. These become food for fish, birds and mammals. An entire food chain is created in a beaver pond. While infamous for killing trees, beaver dams actually create diverse habitats. Grasses, sedges, bushes and saplings grow on the perimeter of the pond. These plants provide food and cover for foraging animals. Beaver ponds become magnets for a rich variety of wildlife. From important game species like duck, muskrat, mink and otter, to vulnerable anadromous fish like rainbow smelt, steelhead and salmon, biodiversity thrives due to beaver ponds.

Beaver dams also protect downstream spawning areas from sedimentation, and create cool, deep pools which increase salmon and trout populations. By functioning as natural sponges that store runoff water and slowly release it, they reduce downstream flooding and erosion. The algae and plants in the pond improve water quality by absorbing dissolved nutrients, processing organic wastes, and detoxifying runoff toxins e. Beaver ponds also recharge our drinking water aquifers, stabilize the water table, and better maintain stream flows during droughts.

Beavers are even being reintroduced around the country to improve arid lands. Although they can present a challenge, by using flow devices you can control problematic flooding and reap countless environmental rewards.

Mike Callahan Beaver Solutions. Heidi Perryman Worth A Dam.Photo: D.

what is a beavers food chain

Gordon E. Then European-Amercan settlers came along and nearly wiped out both the wolf and the beaver. Wolves were killed because people thought they would eat livestock, while beavers were trapped relentlessly for their beautiful fur, which was used to make luxurious coats and hats. In recent decades, beaver trapping has abated, and beavers have returned to many of their former habitats.

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Wolves also have come back in a few areas—but most places where beavers now live remain free of wolves. As a result, the beaver population has continued to increase, limited only by the availability of favorable living space along streams, lakes, and ponds that are surrounded by hardwood forests.

Other animals that eat beavers include cougars, bobcats, and coyotes.

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In addition, little beavers are sometimes taken by eagles, hawks, and owls. As for what beavers eat—they do not eat the hard, dense wood in the large trees they sometimes gnaw down. They instead like to browse on the tender bark, buds, and juicy smaller twigs of very young trees. In fact, one of the reasons they fell big trees is so that the remaining tree stumps will begin sprouting tasty shoots, which the beavers then can feast on.

Another reason they take down trees is to use their branches as building material to make beaver dams and lodges. In summer, beavers vary their diet with berries and leaves, as well as by grazing. A food web—every food web—begins with sunlight. Plants turn that sunlight into usable food energy, and that energy is transfered to the herbivorous animals that eat those plants.

When those plant eating animals are themselves eaten by predators, the energy is transfered higher up the food chain and becomes concentrated in the bodies of the top, or apex, predators. The apex predators return energy to the food web after they die and their bodies are consumed by scavengers, fungi and microbes.

WordPress Admin.Food chainin ecology, the sequence of transfers of matter and energy in the form of food from organism to organism. Food chains intertwine locally into a food web because most organisms consume more than one type of animal or plant.

The Food Chain

Plants, which convert solar energy to food by photosynthesisare the primary food source. In a predator chain, a plant-eating animal is eaten by a flesh-eating animal. In a parasite chain, a smaller organism consumes part of a larger host and may itself be parasitized by even smaller organisms. In a saprophytic chain, microorganisms live on dead organic matter. Because energy, in the form of heat, is lost at each step, or trophic levelchains do not normally encompass more than four or five trophic levels.

People can increase the total food supply by cutting out one step in the food chain: instead of consuming animals that eat cereal grains, the people themselves consume the grains.

Food chain

Because the food chain is made shorter, the total amount of energy available to the final consumers is increased. Food chain. Article Media.

what is a beavers food chain

Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Home Science Environment. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History. Read More on This Topic. Because all species are specialized in their diets, each trophic pyramid is made up of a series of interconnected feeding relationships Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.

Because all species are specialized in their diets, each trophic pyramid is made up of a series of interconnected feeding relationships called food chains.

Most food chains consist of three or four trophic levels. A typical sequence may be plant,…. Sugar molecules are produced by the process of photosynthesis in plants and certain bacteria. These organisms lie at the base of the food chain, in that animals and other nonphotosynthesizing organisms depend on them for a constant supply of life-supporting organic molecules.

what is a beavers food chain

Food chain s in coastal waters of the world are generally regulated by nutrient concentrations. These concentrations determine the abundance of phytoplankton, which in turn provide food for the primary consumers, such as protozoa and zooplankton, that the higher-level consumers—fish, squid, and marine mammals—prey…. History at your fingertips.

Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox!There are no beavers in Antarctica -- it's too cold and there is no food chain for beavers there. Beavers are eaten by most large predators eagles, wolves, lynx, etc. Mrs Smith has nine children half of them are girls.

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Food Chains and Food Webs. Top Answer. Wiki User The sun gives energy to plants that make the beavers food grow. Related Questions. What part of a food chain are beavers on? Beavers eat plants, they are primary consumers. Do beavers live in Antarctica? Are beavers 1st level consumers? It depends on what your food chain looks like. What is beavers food chain? Do beavers eat fish for food? Yes beavers eat fish for food. Trending Questions. Hottest Questions.

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What Good Are Beavers?

Consumer Choice.Beaver dams or beaver impoundments are dams built by beavers to provide ponds as protection against predators such as coyotes, wolves, and bears, and to provide easy access to food during winter. These structures modify the natural environment in such a way that the overall ecosystem builds upon the change, making beavers a keystone species. Beavers work at night and are prolific builders, carrying mud and stones with their fore-paws and timber between their teeth.

A minimum water level of 0. In lakes, rivers and large streams with deep enough water, beavers may not build dams and instead live in bank burrows and lodges.

Beavers start construction by diverting the stream to lessen the water's flow pressure. Branches and logs are then driven into the mud of the stream bed to form a base [1].

Then sticks, bark from deciduous treesrocks, mud, grass, leaves, masses of plants, and anything else available, are used to build the superstructure. The average height of a dam is about 1. The length depends on the stream width, but averages about 4. Beavers vary the type of dam built and how they build it, according to the speed of water on the stream.

In slow-moving water, they build a straight dam, whereas in fast-moving water they tend to be curved [ citation needed ].

What Does a Beaver Eat?

Spillways and passageways are built into the dam to allow excess water to drain off without damaging it [ citation needed ]. Dams are generally built wider at the base and the top is usually tilted upstream to resist the force of the current [ citation needed ]. Beavers can transport their own weight in material [ citation needed ] ; they drag logs along mudslides and float them through canals to get them in place.

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Trees approaching a diameter of 90 centimetres 3. The length depends on the diameter of the tree and the size of the beaver. Logs of this size are not intended to be used as structural members of the dam, but rather the bark is used for food, and sometimes to get at upper branches. A beaver's jaws are so powerful they can cut a 1.

Furthermore, if beavers are considered central place foragersthen their canals may be considered an extension of their "central place" far beyond the lodge, according to a study that mapped beaver ponds and cut stumps.

It has two or more lodges and is a combination of two original dams. Google Earth images show new dams being built which could ultimately join the main dam and increase the overall length by another 50 to m during the next decade. It is claimed by some that by building dams, beavers are expressing tool use behaviour.

For example, it has been argued that like bird nests, beaver dams are too large to be picked up by the animal and therefore cannot be classified as a tool.

However, the cutting down of trees, preparing them for use, transporting them to the dam and then inserting them into the structure is consistent with other definitions of tool use. Dam building can be very beneficial in restoring wetlands.

Such wetland benefits include flood control downstream, biodiversity by providing habitat for many rare as well as common speciesand water cleansing, both by the breakdown of toxins such as pesticides and the retention of silt by beaver dams. Over the years, this collection of silt produces the rich bottomland so sought after by farmers.A food chain can consist of parasites as well as predators if one parasite feeds on another.

The term food chain refers to a series of linked feeding relationships between living things in an ecosystem. More specifically, a food chain describes the order in which matter and energy in the form of food are transferred from one organism to another. Because most organisms eat more than one type of plant or animal, an organism may belong to more than one food chain.

As a result, the food chains in an ecosystem overlap and intertwine to form a complex food web. Food chains are organized across several trophic, or feeding, levels.

Organisms at each level feed on organisms from the level below and are in turn eaten by organisms from the level above. A typical grassland food chain would extend from grasses to rabbits which eat grassesto snakes which eat rabbitsand to hawks which eat snakes.


Organisms at the first level in a food chain are called producers. These are organisms that can make their own food. They use photosynthesis to convert light energy from the Sun into the chemical energy of food. Plants, algaeand phytoplankton plantlike plankton are examples of producers. Organisms in the remaining trophic levels are called consumers. The organisms at the second level of the food chain are called primary consumers. These are organisms that eat producers.

Primary consumers in a grassland ecosystem might include rabbits and bison, as well as insects and birds that feed on vegetation.

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The primary consumers in a pond ecosystem might include snails, caterpillars, muskrats, and beavers. In many marine ecosystems, zooplankton animal-like plankton such as copepods and krill are the main primary consumers. The third level of the food chain contains secondary consumers. These are animals that eat primary consumers. Grassland secondary consumers might include coyotes and snakes. In many marine environments, seals, squid, and fish fill this role. Secondary consumers in the Antarctic ecosystem include blue whales and penguinsamong other animals.

Many food chains have a fourth level that contains tertiary consumers—animals that eat secondary consumers.

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Hawks, badgers, and wolves are tertiary consumers in some terrestrial ecosystems. In marine environments, this role is played by large fish, jellyfishseals, turtles, small sharks, dolphins, and whales, among others. Some very large ecosystems may have a fifth level that consists of quaternary consumers. These are animals that eat tertiary consumers and, in some cases, secondary and even primary consumers. The fundamental source of energy in almost all ecosystems is light energy from the Sun.

This energy is converted by producers to the chemical energy of food, which is then transferred from one trophic level to another. Most of the energy—about 90 percent—that enters a trophic level is used up by the organisms at that level.

It is then passed to the next trophic level when the organism is consumed.

what is a beavers food chain

This means that the total amount of energy decreases from one trophic level to the next as it moves up the food chain. Most food chains have only three or four trophic levels because there is not enough energy remaining at the top of the chain to support more levels. The grassland food chain described earlier contains four trophic levels: producers grassprimary consumers rabbitssecondary consumers snakesand tertiary consumers hawks.

A wetland food chain might have a similar structure.