Why do beavers build damns?

I’ll preface by saying I’ve already thought of every easy beaver joke (oh… except that one), so don’t even think about it.

The common misconception is that beavers actually live in the dams they create. They do not. They live in lodges built in the middle or edges of the deep ponds their dams create. Beavers access these lodges underneath the water – the deeper the water, the better the protection and isolation for predators. Damming a smallish stream simply creates a nice deep pool in which to build your beaver fortress.

Some other interesting Beaver Facts:

  • “With the exception of man, beavers manipulate [and affect] their environment more than any other species.”
  • Beavers were the first to harness hydro-power by utilizing pine-cone turbines
  • If you were a female beaver, you’d know very well the phallic symbolism of a beaver dam. That’s where we get the common phrase, ‘Hung like a beaver’
  • Beavers wearing little hard hats is ADORABLE.

For those with Netflix, there’s a sweet little documentary on Instant called ‘Beavers: Imax’. It’s only 30 mins or so in length.


Sources :

Beaver Biology: http://www.beaversolutions.com/about_beaver_biology.asp
Patch Disturbance and the Human Niche by John M. Logan: http://dieoff.org/page78.htm

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