What do Beavers Eat?

What do Beavers Eat?

The first guesses that most people make are fish. Probably because they live out in a pond or swamp where fish live. But beavers don’t eat fish. Beavers are herbivores and eat trees. Some of the beavers favored tree species are Birch, Aspen, Alder, Maple, and Willows. They also spend part son the year eating succulent leaves and grasses from pond lilies and cattails. It’s not uncommon to go canoeing around the beaver pond in the Spring and see floating tufts of old cattail roots through the water way.

We recently took a small canoe ride to visit our resident beavers on the property. Martha was out and about during this particular evening. She has always been very calm and relaxed around us. In the video below you can see how comfortable she is in our presence. She climbs out of the water onto the lodge and happily munches away at a large white birch. Just note, this is not normal behavior for beavers.

In fact, you can see the other family members of the beaver colony swimming around in other videos we have taken. There was one particular two year old beaver that was constantly circling the canoe and slapping his tail. It should also be noted that we have no way to tell exactly whether the beavers are male or female. We just assign traits to them for ease of communication. Plus we find the gentle sweetness of Martha to be utterly feminine. The youngster slapping his tail and cruising us hard just seems to speak to the antics of many adolescent boys. We know it’s anthropomorphized a bit, but it’s okay. It’s all in fun being fortunate to watch the what the beavers are eating.

A Closeup of a Beaver Eating a Tree

Beavers are always chewing on trees it seems. Their teeth grow forever and the constant gnawing helps keep the teeth filed down. When the beavers are eating trees they are actually eating the soft cambium layer that is just under the outer bark. This is the same layer that rabbits, deer, porcupine, and moose all love to eat. It’s the most nutritious part of the tree. The left over sticks and wood conveniently become lodge and dam building materials. You could almost say that when the beavers go to eat, they’re really going to work. The video below is Martha once again up close enjoying her birch log.

We were lucky to trap her on camera before she got skittish around us. It’s really great when wildlife lets you get close and see some of their world. We’re thankful that we have the opportunity to share this with all of you. Thanks for reading and hopes you enjoyed the show!


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